cover image The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Drew Daywalt, illus. by Adam Rex. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-243889-8

Rock is the invincible champion of the Kingdom of Backyard, but winning comes too easily. “Smooshing you has brought me no joy,” he tells a flattened apricot. Meanwhile, two other hardcore competitors are having similar crises: Paper has vanquished all comers in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office (“Taste my fury, giant box-monster!” says Paper before jamming the computer printer), while Scissors is the undisputed victor of the Kitchen Realm. Their yearning for worthy opponents is finally answered by a meet-up in the garage. After three exhilarating rounds, they realize that their epic battles can go on forever: “Finally, they had each met their matches.” This exuberant collaboration between Daywalt (The Day the Crayons Quit) and Rex (How This Book Was Made) is similarly felicitous. Daywalt’s text, set in a range of expressive fonts, combines the heightened verbosity of vintage action comics with the swagger of backyard scuffles (“I hope you’re wearing your battle pants, rock warrior,” warns Scissors), and Rex composes wildly dramatic battle scenes against backdrops of thunderstorms, erupting volcanoes, and missile launches. Forget reading aloud—this story demands bombastic, full-volume performances. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)