by Judy Newman with Alana Pedalino and Alexie Basil
As publishers and creators, we often wonder what makes something enduring—something that appeals to kids and families decade after decade. Something that transcends all kinds of social change and fads and trends.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is one of those books that transcends time.
A lot of people love their dogs. I loved my first dog, Colonel (and the many dogs I had thereafter).
When Clifford first came on the scene, his story struck a chord—not just with dog owners, but animal lovers everywhere. For some kids, Clifford was their first exposure to what it’s really like to have a furry friend—and how sometimes the responsibilities of having one could feel…well, big.
My friend and Scholastic colleague David Vozar agrees in his comic for Clifford the Big Red Dog:
But within the larger context of the kids’ lit world, Clifford was and continues to be a big red reading friend to all.
Just ask Sophie Rae, my granddaughter.
Thanks to my former colleague Nelson Hitchcock, I’m lucky to have my own Clifford. When Nelson retired, he bequeathed to me the huge Clifford plush that was in his office. Honestly, I don’t know if it was his to bestow, but I took full advantage, and just as the pandemic started, I took Clifford home.
Clifford was a symbol of Scholastic, comfort and kindness in my home office. And one year ago when my Sophie Rae was born, the Big Red Clifford in my office became the best friend a new reader ever had.
Clifford stands the test of time. There are more than 133 million copies of the Clifford series available in 16 languages. Since his black-and-white creation in the 1960s, Clifford has been colored in, brought to life in dozens of books, and puppy-fied in an animated television show. You can catch him walking the streets of New York City in the movie Clifford the Big Red Dog, which I can’t wait to see with Sophie Rae when it comes out in theaters next year!
And did I mention that Clifford is Scholastic’s official mascot? He’s a beacon in our offices and all along Mercer Street in New York City, where you can see his picture on lamppost banners!
But my favorite aspect of the Clifford books? Clifford isn’t perfect. It’s difficult to feed him enough, building him an appropriately sized doghouse was a challenge, and sometimes he chases (and actually catches!) cars. But even though Clifford makes mistakes, Emily Elizabeth wouldn’t trade him for the world—and that’s exactly what being a good friend is all about!
We’re so excited to celebrate Clifford by offering the book that started it all for just one dollar: Clifford the Big Red Dog, with story and pictures by Norman Bridwell.
“Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most lovable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor. Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children—kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude—through the Clifford stories, which have been loved for more than 50 years.
“The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally.”
Clifford holds a special place in so many readers’ hearts. For more than 50 years, he’s taught us about friendship and loyalty, and has shown us the joy of reading.
We are especially thrilled to share some big red resources to help you use the original Clifford the Big Red Dog book in your classroom!
Clifford has created an incredible community of readers that spans across generations, and I hope that Clifford the Big Red Dog—as well as the upcoming movie!—serves as a delightful “welcome” to readers new and old this school year.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs