Almost…But Not Quite: A Review of The Almost Terrible Playdate by Richard Torrey

“That could have ended badly.”

Those are words we often mutter at the end of an event that could have had a terrible outcome, but, thankfully, for some reason or another, didn’t.

When two friends are put together for a playdate, in a story by Richard Torrey, readers are warned up front that things could be almost terrible. The book’s title, The Almost Terrible Playdate, published by Random House suggests readers open the book and find out exactly what could have made this playdate terrible.

Using only oil based pencils, crayons, and colored pencils, and sparse color, this book has a “feel” to it as though it is about to tell the story from the perspective of two children. And it does.

The girl, who wears and thinks in purple, makes a suggestion for something the two could do together on their playdate.

The boy, who wears and thinks in green, makes an alternate suggestion for something the two could do together.

It becomes a back and forth argument as we readers see the scenarios played out in the imaginations of the two young children.

Ultimately, the two nearly call it quits. Neither of the other can suggest a viable option for their playtime that afternoon.

But, then things change. As they begin to build their own castles…mansions.. and begin discussing their creations, they understand the possibilities of what lies ahead.

And suddenly, the boy and the girl believe that their friend has a good idea, and they exclaim that they should play again tomorrow.

In this book, Richard Torrey has laid out a common childhood occurrence. Speaking from my teaching experience in preschool, I can tell you that children are always arguing about what to play.

There really are no answers, as this book suggests. It only begins with the spark of an imagination, the willingness to dream, and the willingness to share and work together, marveling at the possibilities.

This is a book for any child looking for a good playmate, which invites readers to open their hearts and minds to what may lie ahead in one afternoon with nothing more than a few blocks and a big imagination.

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