Sunday, January 11, 2015

Clifford The Big Red Dog Outlives His Creator

 – But Not Your Imagination

The creator of lovable children’s book series, Clifford the Big Red Dog, died at the age of 86 early this year.  Dozens of his books have been published since the first one launched over a half-century ago, in 1963.

Could a dog be big enough so that its owner – a little girl – could ride him?  Sure, when you are about the size of a house! 

Through he was clumsy and had a tendency to dig things up like flowers, the affectionate dog embodied kindness and playfulness.  The four-legged creature became a friend to several generations of children, including my two young children.

The New York Times reports that over 129 million copies have been sold.  The books led to an animated TV series and a full-length animated film.

Where does Clifford rank amongst other dog books or TV characters?  Author Norman Ray Bridwell created something special with this lovable but awkward character.  For TV dogs, there’s Snoopy, Goofy, Underdog, Scooby Doo, Huckleberry Hound, Pluto, Jetson’s Astro, Blue from Blue’s Clues, Family Guy’s Brian, Dino from The Flintstones, Dogbert from Dilbert, Mr. Peabody from Rocky and Bullwinkle, Ren from Ren and Stimpy Show, and so many others. But he surely ranks high in the hearts and minds of kids.

There’s nothing better than a children’s book cartoon hero.  We don’t forget them for as long as we live.

When my pug, Lulu, died almost a decade ago, I thought of commissioning an illustrator to put together a book of her adventures and of her mate, Buzz.  Lulu was run over by a school bus while being walked on a leash.  She used to run around the house and ignite Buzz to chase her.  She was obese and breathed loudly and had a way of nudging Buzz, who, in turn, had a weird habit of licking her arm pits.  He later slowed down with arthritis and wore a diaper for the last half of his 15-year life.  I still think they’d make for a good book.  They were adopted and could teach lessons to kids.  Then again, every dog or pet owner thinks their animal is great.

Clifford will live beyond his owner through the magic of books and screens. What a wonderful legacy a book can be.  Years from now a child will read Clifford and feel as one did 60, 70 or 80 years earlier.  The author may be dead, but Clifford shall live on, not only for new generations to discover but for existing ones to revel in.

I personally was never a big Clifford fan, but I can understand his appeal.  Anything dog, cartoon, and book sounds good to me.  The best parts of reality are the ones that aren’t real or human.

Children everywhere should read a Clifford book tonight.  He is sure to entertain kids all over the world for years to come.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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