Picture Book Review: The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Every six months or so I find a book to share with my students in every grade level, from the littlest kindergarteners to the biggest fifth graders.  It has to be a funny book with compelling characters, each with a unique voice.  A few months ago I came across The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors at Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been a fan of Drew Daywalt since he released The Day the Crayons Quit, so I had high hopes for this title.  Needless to say, it did not disappoint.

The book reminded me of an old samurai film with professional wrestling motifs.  All three of the great warriors seek new challenges as they work their way through an idealized suburban American home.  Rock is from the Kingdom of Backyard, Paper resides in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office, while Scissors lives in the tiny village of Junk Drawer.  Kids find the play on words laugh-out-loud funny!

The heroic trio burn their way through the competition, including an apricot shaped like a butt, a half-eaten bag of trail mix, and a herd of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.  It isn’t until they’ve exhausted all of the household items that the three warriors come face to face in the Great Cavern of Two Car Garage.  Epic and legendary battles ensue with each warrior picking up victories but also losses.  The battles are forced to continue round and round without ever truly ending.  That is why kids today still honor the three warriors by continuing the battles to settle short and minor disputes.

The book provides a great opportunity to talk about the value of losing.  Each of the warriors loves battling his or her opponents but each laments never being beaten.  They feel they aren’t receiving a worthy challenge since they have never lost.  It is only after losing a challenge that they realize how much joy they take in winning.  The loss allows the opportunity to grow and get better.  Kid will find the lesson easily relatable while adults will find the characters likable and easy to analyze.


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