Clifford's Kitten

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Overview

Clifford and Emily Elizabeth love doing activities together and taking care of each other. The "Big, Red Dog" is a beloved and highly recognized character to the preschool set.

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Overview

Clifford and Emily Elizabeth love doing activities together and taking care of each other. The "Big, Red Dog" is a beloved and highly recognized character to the preschool set.

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  • Norman Bridwell
    Norman Bridwell  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590442800
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Series: Clifford 8x8
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 246,638
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Bridwell

Norman Bridwell is the author and illustrator of numerous children's books, including the beloved Clifford series, which has over 126 million copies in print, in 13 languages! He lives in Edgartown, MA with his wife Norma. They have two children, son, Tim, and daughter, Emily Elizabeth.

Biography

Growing up in Kokomo, Indiana, Norman Bridwell was always drawing. "I was not good at sports and my high school shop teacher, after a few days of class, took my tools away, telling me 'Here's a pad of paper instead. You seem to like to draw: stick to that,'" Bridwell remembers. But not everyone believed his drawings or writing would someday delight millions of children (and parents and teachers) around the world, a point he likes to stress when he visits schools, something which he does frequently. "I always liked to draw," Bridwell tells children, "but I was never considered very good. In school there was always someone better than me; the art teacher always liked their work better than mine. Teachers didn't like my writing either."

After high school, Bridwell wanted to turn his love of drawing into a career. He studied first at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and then moved to New York, where he took classes at another art school, Cooper Union, for two years. He then went to work as a commercial artist. It was in 1962 while he was working as a freelance filmstrip and slide illustrator and drawing mostly cartoons that Bridwell decided to put together a portfolio of colorful drawings and make the rounds of children's book publishers. Now married, with an infant daughter -- Emily -- he was hoping to supplement his income with some extra work illustrating books.

Bridwell visited about fifteen publishing houses but there were no assignments to be had, and even worse, seemingly little hope for any in the future. One editor at Harper & Row went so far as to tell Bridwell that his art by itself was just not good enough, and she didn't think anybody would ask him to illustrate a book for them. But amazingly enough, she also made the suggestion that helped bring him the phenomenal success he enjoys today. She advised him to write a story to go along with one of his pictures. She picked out his sketch of a baby girl and a horse-sized bloodhound and casually said, "There might be a story in this," Bridwell remembers.

He wasted no time in taking her advice, but he did decide to make the bloodhound even bigger and more of an "all-around" dog -- much like the dog he had wanted as a little boy, one that he could ride and who would be a fun companion. Bridwell remembers speaking to the editor on a Friday, and "By Monday, I had done this little book about a girl and her dog," he says.

Now all he needed were names for his characters. "I wanted to call the dog 'Tiny,' but Norma (his wife) said that was boring and suggested 'Clifford' after an imaginary friend from her childhood," Bridwell says. The little girl's name, however, was easy. Bridwell named her Emily Elizabeth, after his young daughter. He dropped off his drawings and manuscript at Scholastic and tried not to expect anything. Three weeks later the phone rang. Scholastic wanted to publish Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Despite his (and Clifford's) success, Bridwell, like anyone who does anything creative, still can't always predict how others will respond to his work. In just a few hours on the night before he was to meet with his editor about a Clifford book that he had worked on for many weeks, Bridwell drew some sketches and put together the text for what would become one of his most popular books, The Witch Next Door. Bridwell thought he was just bringing along something extra, but The Witch Next Door, about a kindly witch and her friendship with her two young neighbors, was accepted for publication while the Clifford book was rejected. "That's the way it goes," Bridwell says, calling The Witch Next Door a "happy accident."

But what he has obviously learned and what he tries to stress to young writers is that rejection is not a reason to give up. "Sometimes you'll do something that you really like and no one else does. You'll feel terrible, but you've just got to press on and keep trying. If you like doing it and keep working at it, then someday you will succeed."

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    1. Hometown:
      Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 15, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Kokomo, Indiana
    1. Education:
      John Herron Art Institute, 1945-49; Cooper Union Art School, 1952-53
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2001

    Sibling Rivalry Between Clifford and a Visiting Kitten

    Our younger daughter found Clifford, the Big Red Dog, to be one of her favorite characters in picture books. The many humorous plays on his enormous size left her giggling and laughing. The illustrations took the simple ideas in the book and made them unforgettable. This book can help you explain to your children about not being jealous of other children in your family. 'I'm Emily Elizabeth. This is my dog, Clifford. He's the only pet I ever had . . . except for one time last year.' 'A kitten came to our house. I think he was lost.' 'Mom said we could keep him until he found his owner.' Emily Elizabeth puts the kitten to bed in Clifford's old basket, and puts it close to her bed. Clifford becomes jealous, and sleeps so close outside her window that he knocks the house atilt from its foundation on that side. The next day, Mom says the kitten has to sleep with Clifford. Whatever the kitten does, Clifford wants to do . . . often with hilarious consequences. The kitten's butterfly chasing leads Clifford to swallow a kite which he has mistaken for a giant butterfly. Dad pays the boy so he can get a new one. The kitten scratches his claws on a tree, and Clifford sharpens his nails on a light pole which is uprooted in the process. The kitten rides in a doll's carriage, and Clifford hops on a real dump truck. The kitten plays with a spool of thread and Clifford knocks a huge spool of fiber optic cable through two walls of a neighbor's garage! But Clifford is not fussy about eating while the kitten is. The kitten makes a mistake and goes in front of a moving car. Clifford pounces on the car, and stops it before the kitten is injured. The car, however, will need some work. Eventually, a boy claims the kitten and rides off with him in the basket on the handlebars of his bicycle. Emily Elizabeth sighs, 'Oh well, I still have a pretty good dog. The last illustration shows Clifford's enormous pink tongue licking her. After you have enjoyed this story, I suggest that you talk with your children about how different children in a family can become jealous of one another. You can use this book as an example, and also mention your own feelings towards your siblings when you were young. You want to be sure that older children realize that they got the same tender treatment that the new baby is getting. Pulling out their photos or videos can help. Focus on companionable pleasure in one another over rivalry at home! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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