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Clifford (character) facts for kids

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Clifford the Big Red Dog character
Clifford 1963.jpg
The original 1963 cover of Clifford the Big Red Dog
First appearance Clifford the Big Red Dog (1963 Book)
Created by Norman Bridwell
Voiced by
Species Giant red dog
Gender Male
Family Emily Elizabeth (owner)

Clifford is the title character and the main protagonist of the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series, written by Norman Bridwell and originally published in 1963, and the television series of the same name, which is based upon it and ran from 2000 to 2003 on PBS Kids. He is one of the world's most recognizable storybook characters and the official mascot of Scholastic.

Concept and creation

When Norman Bridwell was a child, he wanted to have a horse-sized dog for him to ride on. He did try riding on a horse once, but this horse was not very friendly to him. And so his idea was to write up a story, as well as illustrate, about a horse-sized dog who was quite friendly. In 1962, Bridwell tried to share his idea with his painting of a young girl and an oversized bloodhound to around fifteen publishing houses, but none of them were very interested. However, an editor of Harper & Row had his drawing and offhandedly suggested he would turn this drawing into a story for children. His wife, Norma, joined in the making of the story of a girl and an even bigger red dog, just about the size of a house. Bridwell originally planned to name a big red dog "Tiny", but Norma said that this name sounded stupid for a giant-sized dog, instead suggesting "Clifford" after her imaginary friend from her childhood. And this story soon became Clifford the Big Red Dog, published by Scholastic the following year.

Character profile

Clifford is a giant, friendly red dog who is owned by a young girl named Emily Elizabeth with whom he lives in New York City. The book of his debut, as narrated by his owner, detailed Clifford's versatility, great helpfulness, and his friendship with his friends, albeit as the books progressed they detailed his many experiences with Emily Elizabeth and adventures (such as gaining temporary celebrity status in one book) and the endless benefits presented by Clifford's unusual size and gentleness, or the occasional disadvantages at some points. Clifford's infancy is occasionally mentioned and depicted in a few books, in which he appears as a regular-sized, small puppy, albeit it has been mentioned that he later grew to tremendous proportions. While it is highly debated among fans, the creators of the show have confirmed that Clifford can grow and shrink depending on the life force of the children around him.

Although Clifford is depicted as a regular, semi-humanized dog aside from his size in the series of picture books, in the animated series adapted from the books he and his adoptive family live in the fictional island country, Birdwell Island, and is gifted with extra anthropomorphism, and capabilities of speech when conversing with other dogs. Several other characters were introduced in the animated series only, particularly Clifford's canine companions and their owners, most notably his two best friends; a flamboyant, stylish lavender purple poodle named Cleo (voiced by Cree Summer) and pudgy yellow Bull Terrier named T-Bone (voiced by Kel Mitchell). Other characters include a prideful sky blue Greyhound named Mac and a three-legged beagle named K.C. (both voiced by Cam Clarke). As opposed to detailing Clifford's experiences with humans or describing his escapades from a human's viewpoint, the episodes of the television program further explore Clifford's own viewpoint (as well as those of his canine acquaintances) and educational morals learned through their experiences, with the help of the capabilities presented by their ability to speak and hold conversations together.

After this series ended its run, a new series was spun off entitled Clifford's Puppy Days, chronicling Clifford's youth as a tiny puppy before his family's relocation to Bridwell Island, the setting of the original animated program. Here, new characters are presented that appeared neither in the original storybooks nor the other series, such as Emily Elizabeth's neighbors and local animals and pets acquainted with Clifford during his babyhood. Such characters include Jorge (voiced by Jess Harnell), a Spanish dachshund owned by Emily's friend Nina (voiced by Masiela Lusha), Daffodil (voiced by Kath Soucie), a pink pet rabbit owned by Emily, Norville (voiced by Henry Winkler), a bird, among others.

In the animated reboot, Clifford is portrayed as a playful and helpful dog who can talk to Emily Elizabeth, similar to the home video series in 1988 and unlike the original television series, and joins her to embark on adventures and explore their home island. The reboot also introduced several new characters, including Clifford's new canine friends; Bailey, an Australian Shepherd (voiced by Bahia Watson) owned by one of Emily's new friends Samantha Mulberry (voiced by Jenna Weir), Tucker, a Dalmatian puppy (voiced by Julie Lemieux) owned by Fire Chief Franklin (voiced by John Cleland), Hero, a beagle (voiced by Matt Folliott) owned by Pablo Flores (voiced by Niko Ceci), and Hudson, a Yorkshire Terrier (voiced by Markeda McKay) owned by Fisherman Charlie (voiced by Sugith Varughese).

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