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Posted August 1, 2001
Our younger daughter loved Clifford, the Big Red Dog. His gentle disposition and tendency to shake things up with his size just suited her funny bone perfectly. Although the stories are simple, the illustrations bring them into immediate contact with your sense of humor! Clifford's Tricks is a classic of this sort. When a new family moves next door to Emily Elizabeth and Clifford, the potential for fun increases. Martha has a big dog named Bruno whom she loves very much and is extremely proud of. In fact, pride is a problem for Martha and it gets her into trouble. The book is set up around Martha bragging about Bruno, and then Emily Elizabeth has Clifford do his thing . . . which totally upstages the normal, but fine, dog. Obviously, Clifford turns out to be bigger, can bark louder, can bring back larger items (while Bruno brings back a newspaper from the newsstand for Martha, Clifford brings back the newsstand itself), plays dead with more theatrics (he looks like a gunfighter who's just been shot in a TV Western), and make a more impressive 'roll over' (unfortunately, he crushes a police car in the process and Dad has to talk to the policemen). Martha then said, 'Maybe Clifford is a little bigger and a little smarter, but I bet Bruno is braver.' She directs Bruno to walk on the railing of a bridge crossing a river. Because he is a smart dog, he refuses. Martha hops up to show how easy it is to do. She falls into the river. Brave Bruno hops in too, but he's too small to save her. When Clifford pops in the water, he rises up under them with his snout like a submarine coming up for air and carries them safely to shore. Martha now said, 'Thank you, Clifford. You are the biggest, bravest, smartest dog I know.' Even the police forgive Clifford. But both girls still love their own dogs best, which is as it should be. After reading this book, you can talk to your youngster about the perils of having pride and bragging. Not only can it lead you into embarrassment, it also undermines your relationships with others, your own ability to see things clearly, and your own moral worth. You can also talk about avoiding dangerous stunts, at the same time. Let the bragging rights settle themselves out naturally . . . and without being exercised! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.