Norman Ray Bridwell (February 15, 1928 – December 12, 2014) was an American author and cartoonist best known for the Clifford the Big Red Dog series of children’s books.
Bridwell put together a portfolio and attempted to get a job as a children’s book illustrator but was rejected by around fifteen publishing houses. While at Harper & Row, an editor offhandedly suggested he turn one of his drawings into a story. The drawing was of a baby girl and a horse-sized bloodhound, and the story became Clifford The Big Red Dog. That book spawned over 40 best-selling Clifford books, two television series, merchandise, and a live musical.
Bridwell’s other successful books include The Witch Next Door, and A Tiny Family. There are over 126 million copies of his books in print in 13 languages.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is an eponymously titled American children’s book series about a big red dog named Clifford. It was first published in 1963. The series helped establish Scholastic Books as a premier publishing company, and Clifford himself is Scholastic’s official mascot.
Clifford was the runt of a litter of puppies and was chosen by a city child named Emily Elizabeth as her birthday present. No one expected him to grow, but Emily’s love for her tiny red puppy changed him dramatically. Before long, he was over 25 feet (7.6 m) tall, forcing the Howard family to leave the city and move to the open spaces of Birdwell Island. He met friends there including, Cleo, Mac, and T-Bone.