The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors Book Poster Image
Raucous fun imagining origin story for popular kids' game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Concepts of legend and origin story. Rules of rock, paper, scissors game. Idea of battle and force and how objects can triumph over others.

Positive Messages

You can use your strengths to help you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rock, Paper, and Scissors are confident in their abilities and seek to challenge themselves with worthy opponents.

Violence & Scariness

The book's a succession of battles, silly as they are. Opponents get smooshed, cut up, and broken in graphic battle scenes.


Rock calls an apricot "a fuzzy little butt." Warriors put down others with silly trash talk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is by Drew Daywalt (The Day the Crayons Quit) and Adam Rex (School's First Day of School), two best-selling kings of clever who once again showcase their sharp wit. The book imagines the origin story of the popular kids' game, showing how Rock, Paper, and Scissors came to battle each other and who vanquishes whom. There are battles galore with some mild, silly trash talk. For instance, Rock commands a clothespin to "[d]rop that underwear and battle me, you ridiculous wooden clip-man!" and calls an apricot "a fuzzy little butt." Kids who feel squirmy with quieter picture books will laugh out loud at the raucous, action-packed humor, and cheer on their favorite warrior.

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What's the story?

THE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS imagines that Rock, Paper, and Scissors were once warriors battling in their respective kingdoms, looking for worthy foes. Each of them vanquishes all others. Rock smooshes an apricot, Paper defeats a printer by causing a paper jam, and Scissors lays waste to a roll of tape. Finally, they meet each other, and kids can predict the outcome: Rock defeats Scissors, Paper defeats Rock, and Scissors defeats Paper.

Is it any good?

There's lots of rollicking good fun in this book that imagines the origin of the kids' game rock, paper, scissors as a classic legend, complete with warriors, kingdoms, and epic battles. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is filled with serious silliness. Paper battles a printer and wins by causing a paper jam. Scissors challenges a tape dispenser by saying, "Let us do battle, you tacky and vaguely round monstrosity," while the tape dispenser vows to use his "adhesive and tangling powers."

The human-like warriors are fiercely funny, and the raging battles are announced in all caps, as if shouted from the ring: "ROCK VERSUS APRICOT! PAPER VERSUS HALF-EATEN BAG OF TRAIL MIX!" There’s also some giggle-inducing underwear and butt humor. So who's funnier and more clever, author Drew Daywalt or illustrator Adam Rex? That battle may be a very happy draw.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the made-up legend in The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. How do you think the author came up with this idea? Can you make up legends yourself?

  • Do you play rock, paper, scissors with your friends? What are the rules, and who wins over whom? Could you predict who was going to win in the battles in the book?

  • How does the artist give the inanimate objects expressive faces and qualities?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and funny stories

Themes & Topics

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