Trendy Tuesdays: Clifford the Big Red Dog

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When thinking of things that are trendy these days, I could not help but think of the throwback theme and the trends of our childhood coming back. From the relaunching of Boy Meets World into the spinoff Girl Meets World to Friends being on Netlfix, the 90s are everywhere. One of my favorite childhood books was Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell. Upon searching it on the web, I found out that the book was first published in 1963! While that was not the 90s, Clifford was popular then and is still popular now, as there are many many books in the Clifford series and there is a PBS show by the same name.   Because Clifford has been around for over 50 years and is still relevant, I decided that it is definitely trendy!

 

The edition of Clifford the Big Red Dog that I found has older illustrations, so I will also put up a photo of a newer cover that I found online.

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The story in the original Clifford book is that of Emily Elizabeth explaining how her dog, Clifford, is the biggest and reddest dog on her street. She then tells stories about the games that they play together and all the time they spend together. The funniest part is when she says that she can always find Clifford in hide and seek (because he is too big to be hidden completely). She goes through the bad habits of Clifford, as well as the difficulties of taking care of such a giant dog. I think it is a nice foundation for the series that follows because it introduces Clifford and talks about his good qualities and his bad qualities, and also how Emily Elizabeth loves him no matter what.

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I think that Clifford was popular for us as children because there were still books being made and it was adapted into a TV show. The simple, brightly colored illustrations were easy to adapt into animations so the books and the TV show matched well. The characters largely stayed the same as well, and I remember as a child watching the TV show as well as reading the books before bed. As the illustrations evolve over time, new editions of the books come out, keeping Clifford current. There are still Clifford books coming out today, even though Norman Bridwell has passed away. I hope that Clifford will live on through his stories and TV show so that kids for many years will still find Clifford as one of their favorite childhood characters.

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Overall, I think Clifford will stand the test of time and continue to be read to children because of the sheer number of books that exist about him!  Beyond the book, on the PBS website, there are interactive games that you can play with Clifford and his friends as well as listen to stories on the website.

 

The simple, engaging illustrations and story lines of Clifford the Big Red Dog make it a timeless read that will continue to capture children’s hearts everywhere!

-Holly Reichert

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