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Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 17: Reading in Bed, Reading Together, and Realistic Graphic Novels

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors: Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex

Book: The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Pages: 48
Age Range: 4-8

LegendRockPaperScissorsThe Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex, is the dramatic origin saga of the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. It is set in the mysterious land of a suburban home. Readers first meet Rock, who lives in the Kingdom of Backyard. Rock defeats all challengers by pummeling them. Rock, however, feels let down by the lack of "a worthy foe." A similar situation faces Paper, who dominates his Empire of Mom's Home Office, and Scissors, who dwells in the Kitchen Realm, in the "tiny village of Junk Drawer." As each warrior sets out in search of more equal challengers, the three heroes meet"in the great cavern of Two-Car Garage." Astute readers will be able to predict what happens from here. 

The text of The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is over-the-top and read-aloud friendly, full of dramatic exclamations as well as more subtle wordplay. Like this:

"They called her Scissors,
and she was the fastest blade in
all the land. She, too, was unchallenged.
On this day, her first opponent was a strange and sticky circle-man.

"Let us
do battle,
you tacky and vaguely
round monstrosity!"

"I will
battle you,
and I will
leave you
beaten and 
confused with 
my adhesive
and tangling 

We have classic adventure lingo, like "fastest blade in all the land" as well as "you tacky and vaguely round monstrosity" (describing a roll of cellophane tape). This is a book that simply begs to be read aloud, and will make kids and adults smile. There's also a scene in which Rock tells an apricot that he looks like a "fuzzy little butt", which will have listeners chortling (though things do not end well for the "odd and delicious fruit").

This is a longer text at 48 fairly busy pages, however, and will work better for the K-3 set than for preschoolers, I think. It also might be a bit long for library storytime. But for reading at home, The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors is hard to beat.

Adam Rex's bold illustrations bring the three unconventional main characters, and their opponents, to quirky life. Even the elements of a half-eaten bag of trail mix have individual, frightened expressions when confronted by the bold Paper. My favorite is Scissors, though. Her two green loops look like eyes within eyeglasses, expressive and shiny. 

My seven year old gave this one two thumbs up and a "Yes, you'll have to write about this one, Mommy." And so I have. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is pure fun, and a must-read for fans of Daywalt's Crayons books. Read it, and you'll never play Rock, Paper, Scissors in quite the same way. Highly recommended and a must-purchase for libraries. 

Publisher: Balzer + Bray  (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).