Just When You Thought It Was the End of Origami Yoda, This Happened

7 Oct

At the end of my last post, I alluded to an excellent turn of events concerning a little arts and crafts program I did over the summer.  Now that it has actually happened, I can finally fill you all of you in on the fun.  Ladies and Gents, on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, my library was paid a visit by none other than…

Angleberger Glitter

Photographic proof, 'Star Wars' shirt and all.

Photographic proof, ‘Star Wars’ shirt and all.

Yup, it’s true.  I tweeted him a handful of updates over the summer on our Origami Yoda progress, and when we reached our goal of 1,000 Yodas back in August, he sent me, via Twitter, an eloquent note of congratulations:Yoda CongratsThen, while I was on vacation in September, the head of our Youth and Family Services Department reached out to Abrams to share some pix of the Yodas and the video I made.  Their response was to inform us that Mr. Angleberger would be visiting NYC on October 2nd, and would it be okay if he dropped in to check out the exhibit?  Would it be okay?  WOULD IT BE OKAY!?!?  This was me after I heard the news…

Kermit Flail

Moving on.  We invited the stookiest 5th grade class from P.S. 9 and everyone eagerly awaited Mr. Angleberger’s trip to Brooklyn, NY.  On Wednesday morning, upon arriving in the Youth Wing, Tom’s first order of business was to view the 1,118 Yodas and take pictures, many of which he compiled into a trippy animated gif you can see here on his website (By the way, I love the comment SF_Firk made on this post, “NO SLEEP TILL 1000 YODAS.  Yep”.  Believe me, it kind of felt that way at times, SF_Firk).

Tom Takes Pix

Tom Takes Pix 2

Then the fifth graders arrived, and that’s when the morning busted open and became amazing!  Mr. Angleberger has a fantastic rapport with kids.  He jokes around with them, lets them have their say, and is an all-around-interesting dude to listen to.  He started out by drawing a picture of his home state which wound up looking like this:

Tom Draws Jabba

The Commonwealth of Virginia, aka ‘Jabba the State’.

Tom Angleberger has a schtick.  When he called on kids, he would ask for their names.  In spite of that, he wound up calling them all Larry, even the girls (this is a name-remembering trick I am totally going to steal).  He wrote out his full name on the easel and remarked that the ‘r’ in middle is vitally important to him, or else everyone would call him, ‘Tom Angle-booger’.  Then he folded a paper airplane using his favorite method, the Nakimura Lock, and had the crowd cheer, ‘For the Power of Origami!’ before sending it soaring across the room.  Basically, he had those kids eating out of his hands within 10 minutes of introducing himself.

So what else happened?  Well, he invited one of the fifth graders- named Larry of course- to draw a picture of New York State.  ‘Larry’ wasn’t having that, however.  Instead, his muse called on him to draw what he saw from the window, namely the front plaza of the library, and that’s exactly what he did.

Larry hard at work on his masterpiece.

Larry hard at work on his masterpiece.

Tom then gave ‘Larry’s’ picture the same treatment he gave to his own map of Virginia.  He turned it into Star Wars characters!  A pillar was transformed into Darth Vader, a shrub, into an Ewok, and an apartment building into Jabba the Hutt’s ferocious pet rancor.

Larry's drawing, Star Wars-ized.  Larry himself signed it 'Larry'.

‘Larry’s’ drawing, Star Wars-ized. ‘Larry’ himself is responsible for signing it ‘Larry’.

Turning over a new page on the easel pad, Mr. Angleberger then drew a picture of the hero of the Origami Yoda series, Mr. Dwight Tharp, and he invited the kids to speculate on why Dwight is so weird when Origami Yoda is so wise.  The tween Dr. Phil’s in the audience actually nailed it early on, that Dwight is probably quite insightful himself, but can only express it to others when he wears a finger puppet on his thumb.  The kids didn’t stop there, however.  Their theories on what makes Dwight tick became quite, um, inventive, and Tom obligingly drew them all onto the pad.  Without going into too much detail, Dwight somehow wound up with lobster robot arms.  I bet he would LOVE that!

The Dwight drawing in its early stages, minus robot lobster arms.

The Dwight drawing in its early stages, minus lobster robot arms.

Tom candidly shared with the group that his protagonist is the weirdest kid in the class because HE was the weirdest kid in HIS class (whereupon Ingrid and I nodded our heads in unison and mumbled, “We can relate.”).  Then he asked the kids who was the weirdest kid in their class, and the response was spontaneous and unanimous: Ronald.  Bless him, Ronald, decked out in a sport jacket and polo shirt, OWNED it, calmly avowing that yes, he was a weirdo and he was fine with it.

Ronald was invited up to participate in the interactive part of Mr. Angleberger’s presentation, teaching the class to fold Origami Yodas.  Let the record show that the group was shown by Tom Angleberger how to fold the Emergency Yodas from Darth Paper Strikes Back, whereas the 1,118 Yodas on the library wall are real deal ones, instructions found here and the final pages of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.   Indulging in such Yoda snobbery is of no consequence, though, as Tom’s instructional approach is way cooler than mine.  After all, he possessed two ingredients I could never compete with:  (1) Ronald and (2) a gigantic sheet of green paper.

Ronald and Tom unfolding the gigantic sheet of green paper.

Ronald and Tom unfolding the gigantic sheet of green paper.

Yodas in progress.

Yodas in progress.

A roomful of 5th graders wielding their Origami Yodas!

A roomful of 5th graders wielding their Origami Yodas!

The piece de resistance: that's Ronald wearing the gigantic green piece of paper, now an Origami Yoda, doing a Yoda dance.

The piece de resistance: that’s Ronald wearing the gigantic green piece of paper, now an Origami Yoda.  He’s doing a debonair Yoda dance.

The visit was apparently going to wrap up with Tom autographing everyone’s Yodas, but the kids had other priorities. They wanted him to show them how to fold the Nakimura Lock airplane!  Within minutes,  hummingbird-sized planes were sailing throughout the room.  Then Tom signed his autographs, took photos with all of the 5th-graders, and a lot of library staff, and then it was time for him to catch a train.  Thank you so much for coming to look at our Yodas, Mr. Tom Angleberger!  Your visit has catapulted to the top of my “Coolest Stuff that Happened at Work” list, 2013 edition.  But why take my word for it?  While the class (to whom I said, “Bye, Larry.  Hope you enjoyed yourselves.”) headed out the door, Ronald the Yoda Dancer gushed at me, “This was the best day of my life!!!”  Indeed.


Tom A. and a bunch of my colleagues.  I am the second one from, who looks like she is trying to hide behind her Origami Yoda.  Ingrid is to my left.

Tom A. and a bunch of my colleagues. I am the second one on the left, who looks like she is trying to hide behind her Origami Yoda. Ingrid is to my left.

P.S.  Many, many thanks to Ms. Ingrid for taking all of the photos in this post! (minus the one above…I’m not sure who took that one).


3 Responses to “Just When You Thought It Was the End of Origami Yoda, This Happened”

  1. magpielibrarian October 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I am sure Ronald will make an awesome, weirdo librarian one day.


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