Clifford The Big Red Dog
Reading, laughing, having fun with a big friend — those are some of the words in the theme song to the Clifford, The Big Red Dog animated TV show. And what could be better than doing each of those things — especially when that “big friend” is Clifford, a happy and kind canine character. The beloved story of the larger-than-a-house dog began with author Norman Bridwell’s first Clifford book, published by Scholastic in 1963. PBS aired 65 episodes of the TV show in the early 2000s, and now new episodes have recently become available on PBS Kids and on Amazon Prime Video.
Emily Elizabeth, the 8-year-old main character, loves her red canine companion, but the two often find themselves in a pickle. Clifford accidentally makes a giant mess and laments how big and clumsy he is, until he learns that there’s a lot to be said for being just the way he is. Or Emily Elizabeth can’t find the library book she thought she had returned long ago, until she enlists help from friends to discover it bolstering a wobbly table. Or a camp-out with friends turns into a scary scene, until Emily Elizabeth realizes a little kitty in a hoodie is the ghostly creature spooking everyone. Heartwarming stories of friendship, learning, imagination and kindness are the hallmarks of each episode. A Scholastic production in collaboration with Amazon and PBS, this classic is still a gem.
Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.