Monday, January 07, 2013

Norman Bridwell's Clifford Collection (1963-1977)

Clifford Collection: The Six Original Stories. Norman Bridwell. 1963, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1975, 1977. 2012. Scholastic. 182 pages.

Clifford is turning fifty this year, and Scholastic has recently published a great collection of the original stories. This collection contains: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford at the Circus, Clifford Gets a Job, Clifford Takes a Trip, Clifford's Good Deeds, and Clifford's Tricks. It also contains a note to the reader providing a behind the scenes glimpse into the creation of the character, Clifford, sharing details about the author, his family, and the real Emily Elizabeth. (I loved the introduction!!!)
In 1962, Norman decided to show his drawings to several children's book publishers. He hoped that one of them might need a new illustrator. Norman was turned away from all of them, but one editor gave him some advice. While looking at Norman's painting of a little girl and a horse-size bloodhound, she said, "Why not try writing a story to go along with this picture?" In just a few days, Norman excitedly wrote a story about a little girl and her very big dog.
I enjoyed spending time with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth. While I clearly remembered reading Clifford the Big Red Dog, I'm not sure I read the other books as a child. I was surprised by how much I liked Clifford--in these stories. (I'm not exactly thrilled with the abundance of Clifford stories. For example, Clifford's Happy Easter, Clifford's Birthday Party, Clifford's Day with Dad, Clifford's First Snow Day, Clifford Shares, Clifford's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Clifford Goes to Dog School, Clifford's First Autumn, Clifford's Halloween, Clifford's Thanksgiving, Clifford Sees America, Clifford's Christmas, Clifford's Field Day, Clifford's First Sleepover, etc. The list goes on and on and on.) But these original stories are quality stories worth reading. They are well written stories.

Clifford the Big Red Dog
I'm Emily Elizabeth, and I have a dog. My dog is a big red dog. Other kids I know have dogs, too. Some are big dogs. And some are red dogs. But I have the biggest, reddest dog on our street. (13-17)
Clifford at the Circus
I'm Emily Elizabeth, and I have a dog named Clifford. We saw a sign that said the circus was in town. A smaller sign said the circus needed help. We always wanted to join the circus. We ran there as fast as Clifford could run.  (41-42) 
Do you have a favorite Clifford book? 

Read Norman Bridwell's Clifford Collection:
  • If you have a little one who loves dogs; especially big, red dogs
  • If you enjoy reading classic/vintage picture books
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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