Snyder, Clifford the Big Red Dog turn out for reading events

March 7, 2013
Ariel Russo, Isaac Miller and Kaden Bennington catch up with Clifford the Big Red Dog at Graysville Elementary School during a book fair March 1-6.

Students at Graysville Elementary School were exposed to both Read Across America and Clifford the Dog March 1-6.

First, state Rep. Pam Snyder read to elementary students, and then Clifford showed up for a book fair.

Clifford the Big Red Dog first appeared on the literary scene 50 years ago, along with Emily Elizabeth, the little girl who loves him. It was 1962, and Norman Bridwell was a “struggling, not very successful artist in New York,” he says. His wife, Norma, suggested that he try his hand at illustrating children’s books. So Norman did 10 kid-oriented paintings and took them to publishers.

He was rejected everywhere, except at one publisher, where a young woman told him he wasn’t a very good illustrator, so if he wanted to illustrate a book, he’d need to write one on his own.

Bridwell recalls: “She pointed to a sample painting I’d done, of a little girl with a gigantic red dog, and she said, ‘Maybe that’s a story.’ And I went home, and over that weekend I wrote the story ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ and was shocked when it was accepted for publication, because I’d never written anything before.”



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