Rock, paper, scissors, go! How many children have settled disputes with a simple round of rock, paper, scissors? Rock beats scissors, but paper beats rock. And scissors can beat paper. It’s a game that teaches that a simple sheet of paper can cover the brute force of rock, but that even paper isn’t invulnerable to the swift slice of scissors. But where did this game originate? Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex have teamed up to give readers the answer in a picture book called The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors. It begins “long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard,” where a warrior named ROCK looks for a challenger. He battles a clothespin, yelling, “drop that underwear and battle me, you ridiculous wooden clip-man!” Of course, Clothespin is no match for Rock, and Rock is victorious. Next, Rock challenges an apricot, and of course, apricot gets smooshed. Beating these opponents brings Rock no joy, so he journeys on his way.
The point of view switches from Rock to the “Empire of Mom’s Home Office, [where] on a lonely and windswept Desk Mountain, a second great warrior sought the glory of battle. And his name was Paper.” The reader is introduced to paper (a sticky-note with eyes and a nose drawn on him), who is the “smartest warrior” in the land, and like Rock, Paper is also sad that nobody can outwit him. Paper fights computer printer, who cries, “Noooo! Not a Paper Jam!” And Paper battles a half-eaten bag of trail mix in the trash, and no surprise, Paper wins. But, lonely and still undefeated, Paper leaves the Empire of Mom’s Home Office in search of another battle.
Lastly, in the “Kitchen realm in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, there lived a third great warrior. They called her Scissors.” Scissors defeats tape, she climbs up to the freezer and defeats dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, and afterwards, she wonders, “Am I so good that not even Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets can beat me?”
What will happen when the three warriors meet in the “great cavern of Two-Car Garage”? Will they find happiness in remaining undefeated? I think you know the answer, but, as always, it’s still epic to watch a battle of ROCK! PAPER! SCISSORS! unfold.