by Lisa Breininger
Amelia Bedelia just turned 50 in January, and now, Clifford the Big Red Dog turns 50 in February! It’s hard to forget the dog that was bigger than you when you were younger! Did you know that you even can send Clifford a birthday card on the Scholastic website?
On February 14, fifty years ago, Scholastic published the very first Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell. Since 1963 there have been over 126 million books printed. Clifford books are even in 10 different languages. No matter what type of book Clifford is in, a picture, pop-up, or lift-the-flap, the big red dog attracts young readers everywhere. Compared to Amelia Bedelia taking everything literally, Clifford’s clumsy self gets Emily into minor predicaments.
Norman Bridwell was born in February 15, 1928. Norman is both the author and illustrator to Clifford. The little girl Norman created with Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, was named after Norman’s own daughter. He started to illustrate his books with encouragement from his editor.
“I enjoy making up stories that I hope are funny enough to amuse children. It isn’t easy all the time. I try to spend five hours a day at my desk. If the weather is good that isn’t easy. I try to get all my ideas by myself. I do accept editorial suggestions because my editors are pretty nice people and have been extremely helpful.”
Clifford caught the attention of an editor at Scholastic. Scholastic later teamed up with the Public Broadcasting System to develop the television series.
Norman wrote other books besides Clifford, including an affectionate witch and monsters. Norman never anticipated that Clifford would have become so successful. “I’m extremely grateful to my readers and to the teachers who find Clifford useful for getting young readers started.” (Gale Biography in Context)
How did Clifford the Big Red Dog become RED?
“There was a jar of red paint on the end of my drawing table. . . . I dunked my brush in it and decided that it would be red.” (Gale Biography in Context)
You can find some of Clifford’s books here at the Rohrbach Library in the Library Science collection with a call number E Bridwe .
Clifford, the small red puppy
Clifford the champion
Where is Clifford? : a lift-a-flap book
Clifford takes a trip
If you need assistance locating materials, ask a librarian at the Research Help Desk.