Origami is an fun craft experience for both boys and girls, and the paper shapes created can serve purposes beyond the decorative. At least, that’s what these two Secret Origami books, Origami X: Paper Folding for Secret Agents and Origami XOXO: Paper Folding for Special Secrets (Capstone, August 2012), propose!
In Origami X, Nick Robinson and Paul Harrison offer spy origami, plus tips and techniques for sleuthing and writing secret messages inside spy technology–themed folded shapes. Origami XOXO by Robinson and Susan Behar contains many of the same techniques for secret sharing and encoding (mirror writing, “invisible ink”), but with pink paper, cute cartoon animals, and an emphasis on friendship instead. Read together, these books will have you wondering, “Where are the girl spies?” and “Why can’t boys build friendships through passing notes?” The division between the two books may incite jealousy rather than friendship: the X origami projects are much more action-oriented and in some cases even capable of flight (e.g., ninja star, spy plane), while most XOXO origami can do no more than sit quietly (e.g., cupcake, flower).
Why the need for two very separate books? I feel there is no such need. These books should be one, so everyone can share the projects and the patterned paper. Why not mix an Origami X lightning-patterned paper with the Origami XOXO “Beautiful Butterfly” instructions, and deem the new creation a gender-neutral falcon? Merging these two books would make for a more creative and enjoyable craft session.
And be wary of the perforated paper — it’s not exactly square, which may be a bummer for the origami perfectionist.