Norman Bridwell, who created “Clifford the Big Red Dog” books, died last week. He was 86.
“Clifford” is one of those things, like “Sesame Street” and Eric Carle books, that both my kids and I grew up with. As a kid, I loved the idea of owning my own Clifford (who wouldn’t?) As a parent, I loved the idea of my kids getting a lesson in differences. Some of us are bigger than others, some of us are smaller than others, but we’re all people. Clifford might have been big and red, but he was also just a dog who wanted to play, who sometimes got in trouble, who wanted to eat a lot and who had no idea that he’s not a lap dog.
When Clifford became an animated TV show he still didn’t feel commercial. In this world of Disney’s “Frozen,” Clifford remind how to market a character smartly, without shoving it down kids’ throats. He made kids want to go back and read the books as well as watch the show.
In his life, Bridwell wrote more than 40 Clifford books. Do you have a favorite?