Friday, January 13, 2012

May the Fourth: Darth Paper Strikes Back

It's a warm cosy feeling when I can get many things done by reading the same book.  I read our family book club selection for January.  I knocked off a Cybils Middle Grade fiction finalist, I cleared off a book I bought last year but haven't gotten around to reading, and I had a good time doing it all by reading Tom Angleberger's Darth Paper Strikes Back.

I bought this at the same time I got Angleberger's first book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and my kids rushed through both books with enthusiasm but I am more easily distracted and never got to Darth Paper.  Both book use the same technique of having Tommy compile many classmate's responses in his casebook, which gives an excuse for a lot of fun paper art and smudging and also for the cartoons and side comments all over the text, which makes my graphic novel loving kids happy.  I felt that the stakes were raised higher in this book, since Dwight faces expulsion, but I suspect my kids found Tommy's worries about public humiliation just as jeopardising. There was also a bigger sense of character this time around, with Tommy having to put himself forward more both in decision making and in actions.

The school bureaucracy comes off very poorly -- I'm glad our middle school has a much higher standard of administrators than these kids face.  But the ending is emotionally satisfying if a bit intellectually hard to justify.  I'm looking forward to the family discussion tomorrow night, so I can ask if Harold rates as a good guy or a bad guy.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for another great review. I read Origami Yoda and loved it. My 6th grade daughter has read that as well as Darth Paper and told me I would love Darth as well. I'm inspired to read it and have a conversation with her about the situations of the characters and what seems more "crucial" to her.

Caryl said...

How did your family discussion go? I just finished reading this one aloud to my daughter (age 12) and son (age 7). (Daughter had already read them both, and wanted us to enjoy them with her.) I agree that the ending was quite emotionally satisfying. Great books!