Drew Daywalt is turning out to be one of my kids’ favorite authors. They also love the illustrator Adam Rex. I was pretty sure when I got this one from the library that it would be a winner with my kids and I was right. Looking at the reviews, I see that some parents think this book is too aggressive for young children and promotes name-calling. My kids are not aggressive and they don’t (normally) call names, but they think this style of book is hysterical. Maybe they are living vicariously. What I appreciated most is the creativity of the storyline bringing to life the classic children’s game. It is also packed full of great descriptive vocabulary.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors Details
Title: The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Publication Year: 2013
Age Group: Kindergarten, Early Elementary, Mid Elementary
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As a grown-up, I thought this creative take on the classic children’s game was hysterical. Parents of younger children may not appreciate the name-calling and “violence,” but I did not find it offensive and my kids loved it. Each of the three “warriors,” Rock, Paper, and Scissors, is in search of a worthy opponent. In the end, they find and defeat each other based on the same hierarchy we used as kids. There is no lasting damage. They each seem to be magically returned to their intact state after battle. In the end, they become friends.
There are actually two aspects of this book that I particularly enjoyed from an educational standpoint. First, this book is packed full of advanced, colorful vocabulary which adds to the humor. For example, Scissors says to Tape, “Let us do battle, you tacky and vaguely round monstrosity!” If my kids are going to insult each other, I would love for them to show off their impressive command of the English language at the same time.
Second, this book is a great way to introduce the concept of proper nouns. Expressions which are not normally capitalized are capitalized in this book for comedic effect. For example, “At the same time, in the Kitchen Realm, in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, there lived a third great warrior.” Kids can experience the flexibility of grammar and more deeply understand that proper nouns are the titles of specific nouns.
My kids enjoyed this book for entirely different reasons. They may be unrefined, but when Rock battles Apricot and says, “You, sir, look like a funny little butt,” they laughed uncontrollably for a solid minute straight. They also particularly appreciated the page where Rock is asked if he is wearing battle pants and replies, “If by ‘battle pants’ you mean ‘no pants, but I’m willing to fight you,’ then yes….yes, I am wearing my battle pants.”
This book may go over the heads of younger children, especially ones who are unfamiliar with the game. However, older kids who can appreciate the dry humor and colorful language will thoroughly enjoy this creative book.