Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger
Darth Paper Strikes Back is the second in Tom Angleberger’s Star Wars related children’s books, following on from The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. This book is aimed at children aged 8-11 years old.
Darth Paper Strikes Back has loose connections and the same characters as the first book. However; you can easily enjoy this one as a stand-alone story. I have not read the first book in the series, but after struggling with the first couple of pages, I really enjoyed this unique children’s book.
The first page includes the word ‘like’ a disturbing amount of times. The little sketches and doodles all over the place are a little distracting to begin with (although I am presuming this would be found far more appealing by the children it is aimed at) too. But, as soon as I got used to the style and format, I utterly fell for this surreal story of friendship and a paper problem solver.
Most of this book is written from the perspective of Tommy, a seventh-grade schoolboy. When Tommy discovers his best friend, Dwight, might be sent to a correctional facility he gathers his friends together to save him.
Dwight is, simply put, the agony aunt of the school. Via a little paper origami Yoda finger puppet, he advises them on their problems and makes scarily accurate predictions. But of course, where there’s a goodie, there’s a baddie. This comes in the form of Harvey, a classmate who decided to create an origami Darth Vader to bring down origami Yoda.
Dwight is suspended for his unusual finger puppet-based behaviour. Tommy and his classmates band together to create a report in an attempt to convince the school board that Dwight and Yoda are much loved, needed and respected. Although, when Harvey and Darth Paper hear about Tommy’s plans, the Dark Side does its best to throw a spanner in the works.
In case you were wondering, this book isn’t just for Star Wars fans. If you are a fan then you’ll appreciate a few more of the references and quotes. But, as long as you know that Yoda equates good and Darth Vader is bad, that’s all you need to know to enjoy this read.
This is the most beautifully surreal story I have read in a long time. I love how the author has captured children’s open-mindedness to situations that adults would consider ridiculous. I have read lots of serious children’s books lately (Morpurgo etc.) and although I adore them, I found it really refreshing to read something so completely aimed at pure entertainment. This book could also appeal to reluctant readers or children who struggle with concentration as the chapters are brief and the case files create a collection of short stories in themselves.
Will Dwight be sent to reform school? Is Origami Yoda real? Will Darth Paper and the dark side really win?
Well, you’ll get no spoilers here; you’ll just have to read it and find out!
If you like Darth Paper Strikes Back you’ll love Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket.