Created by author/illustrator Norman Bridwell, Clifford the Big Red Dog was developed when an editor picked out a picture he’d drawn of a baby girl on top of a horse-sized dog and asked him to write a story for it.
Clifford, the Big Red Dog was published in 1963.
“I’m Emily Elizabeth,”
“and I have a dog.”
“My dog is a big red dog….”
“I have the biggest, reddest dog on the street.”
Emily Elizabeth’s big, goofy-lookng dog fetches sticks, plays hide-and-seek, camps out with her, and does tricks.
Sometimes, he gets in trouble, by chasing cars and cats, digging up flowers and chewing shoes.
But, he’s a good watch dog.
Even if he didn’t win a prize.
The little girl in Clifford the Big Red Dog is named after Bridwell’s own daughter.
Clifford’s name comes from the name of his wife’s childhood imaginary friend.
Many of his adventures come from his wife’s imaginary childish adventures.
In 1972, we learn where Clifford came from, in Clifford The Small Red Puppy.
Emily Elizabeth was an eight-year-old girl who lived in the city.
A neighbor offered her family one of his dog’s puppies.
He warned against the runt, but she had already fallen in love with him.
Her father was afraid he was too small to survive, so she told her puppy she wished he would grow up to be big and strong.
Within days, he had outgrown the apartment.
They sent him to live with an uncle in the country, who eventually offered her father a job.
Emily Elizabeth, reunited with the dog who was now as tall as a house, told him,
“Clifford, stop growing.
“You are just right.”
And, that’s how she got her dog.
The most recent in the series of 75 books written since the 1963 premiere of Clifford is “Clifford Makes the Team,” published in 2011.
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru