Clifford, the Big Red Dog will visit Legacy Hall in the Honeywell Center on Tuesday, March 5, at 6:30 p.m. Clifford is celebrating his 50th year in publication this month; and the author, Norman Bridwell, celebrated his 85th birthday on Feb. 15.
Clifford has charmed many generations of children with his stories about kindness and good works, stories about making mistakes and being forgiven for them, and stories about unconditional love.
The program is being offered by the Wabash Carnegie Public Library Youth Services and will include a puppet play given by the youth services staff. Children and their parents are invited to meet Clifford, make a set of Clifford ears, and be photographed with the book character. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras. At the conclusion of the program, each child will be invited to select a Clifford book and a red balloon to take home.
Norman Bridwell grew up and attended school in Kokomo. Bridwell remembers that he always had the love of drawing, but that his art teacher didn’t consider his art very good. After graduation from high school, he attended the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, and then the Cooper Union Art School in New York City. After working in a variety of commercial art positions, Bridwell decided to create several samples of his artwork to show to children’s book editors. One of the samples was a picture of a little girl standing under the chin of a big red dog. His work was rejected by 15 publishers, but one suggested that he try writing a story about the little girl with the big red dog. He wrote and illustrated that story the next weekend, and it was soon accepted by Scholastic publishing. Since 1963, more than 126 million Clifford books have been printed in 13 languages, and an animated Clifford TV series is in its 12th season on PBS Kids. Clifford also has a line of toys and party products.
Today, Mr. Bridwell lives with his wife of 54 years in Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard in a 120-year-old farmhouse. The doors and shutters are painted red in honor of Clifford.