The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex


**I have rewritten and am reposting this review, which I wrote before reading this book out loud to kids**

Drew Daywalt seems to be making a name for himself by telling the stories of anthropomorphized everyday objects. His first two books, illustrated by the wonderful Oliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home are laugh filled, epistolary stories of disgruntled crayons looking for respect and adventure.


With The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, Daywalt is once again paired with the perfect illustrator, this time the marvelous Adam Rex, to tell the origin story of this ancient game. Before reading The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, you must understand that, like The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, this is a picture book that MUST be read out loud, and you MUST give yourself over to it, letting go of all inhibitions. If you are shy and do not go in for dramatics, let someone else read this book out loud. Really. It's just not the same if your don't read with the voice of a WWE announcer (and also be able to do a passable Scottish brogue at one brief point in this epic story). I read The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors (and, as a long aside, I must add that the public school I am the librarian at is in the process of becoming an EL Education school, which I could go on about for hours, but part of our curriculum involves monthly meetings where staff lead groups, we call them dens, made up of students from all grades, pre-K through 5, to create a sense of school wide community and connection across all grades. At a recent den meeting, we had a school-wide Rock, Paper Scissors competition that ended with a 5th grader playing a kindergartner, the kindergartner winning!) repeatedly this week to classes of all grades, in my WWE announcer voice, despite a cold and depleted voice, and every single audience was RAPT. And, after finishing the book, they all burst into spontaneous games of RPS, every single time. It's a pretty amazing experience to be part of...

Daywalt begins his story, "Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard, there lived a warrior named Rock." Rock, the strongest warrior in the land, is sad because he cannot find a worthy challenger to prove his strength. Clothespin is no match. Rock journeys to the "mystical Tower of Grandma's Favorite Apricot Tree" where he trades barbs with an aggressive apricot. You can imagine how the battle ends.


Meanwhile, in the "Empire of Mom's Home Office," and in the "Kitchen Realm," Paper and Scissors (who is a she), respectively, are seeking their own worthy challengers after defeating a series of odd and unworthy opponents and finding no joy every time. Eventually, the three face off in the "Great Cavern of the Two-Car Garage" where they cheerfully discover they can battle each other endlessly. Daywalt's drama and weird, witty asides are funny, but it's Rex's illustrations that make The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors memorable. The challenge of bringing a rock, scissors and a piece of paper to life on the page and making these battling inanimate objects personable is met and exceeded by Rex. And, weird as the whole story is (Scissors faces her toughest challenge from dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, which Rex illustrates magnificently) it is one that kids totally relate to and wholeheartedly engage in. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors is a book that needs to be in every school!


Source: Review Copy

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