Clifford the Big Red Dog
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"Clifford the Big Red Dog" Summary

By Norman Bridwell

childrens | 32 pages | Published in NaN


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A lovable, giant dog named Clifford brings joy and adventure to the lives of his young owners.


"Clifford the Big Red Dog" is a beloved children's book written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell. First published in 1963, the book tells the heartwarming story of a lovable and gigantic red dog named Clifford and his adventures with his owner, Emily Elizabeth. This timeless classic has captivated young readers for decades with its endearing characters, colorful illustrations, and valuable life lessons.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the fictional town of Birdwell Island, where Emily Elizabeth and her parents live. One day, Emily Elizabeth receives a small red puppy as a birthday gift from her uncle. To her surprise, this tiny puppy grows into a giant dog who is as tall as a house and as red as a fire truck. Emily Elizabeth names him Clifford and quickly realizes that life with a big red dog is full of excitement and challenges.

Main Characters

The book features several main characters who play important roles in the story:

CliffordA giant red dog who is playful, loyal, and kind-hearted.
Emily ElizabethClifford's owner and best friend.
Uncle CaseyEmily Elizabeth's uncle who gives her Clifford as a gift.
Mr. and Mrs. HowardEmily Elizabeth's parents who support her in taking care of Clifford.

Summary of Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: Clifford's Arrival

Emily Elizabeth's Uncle Casey gives her a small red puppy as a birthday present. She names him Clifford and quickly realizes that he is no ordinary dog. Clifford grows rapidly and becomes a huge and lovable companion.

Chapter 2: Clifford's Adventures

Clifford's size often leads to comical mishaps and adventures. He accidentally destroys Emily Elizabeth's house, tries to hide from the vet, and saves the day when a baby bird falls from its nest.

Chapter 3: Clifford's Kindness

Despite his size, Clifford has a gentle and caring nature. He helps a stranded whale return to the ocean, rescues a cat stuck in a tree, and befriends all the children in the neighborhood.

Chapter 4: Clifford's Challenges

Clifford's size sometimes poses challenges. He struggles to find a bed big enough for him, causes chaos at the dog show, and gets stuck on a bridge. However, with Emily Elizabeth's love and guidance, Clifford overcomes these obstacles.

Chapter 5: Clifford's Friendship

Clifford's size initially intimidates other dogs, but he proves that appearances can be deceiving. He makes friends with other dogs and teaches them the value of acceptance and friendship.

Main Events

Throughout the book, several main events shape the story:

  1. Clifford's arrival as a small red puppy.
  2. Clifford's rapid growth and his enormous size.
  3. Clifford's various adventures, including saving a baby bird and helping a stranded whale.
  4. Clifford's challenges due to his size, such as finding a suitable bed and causing chaos at the dog show.
  5. Clifford's friendship with other dogs, despite his intimidating appearance.

Themes and Insights

"Clifford the Big Red Dog" explores several important themes and offers valuable insights for young readers:

  1. Acceptance and Friendship: The book teaches children that appearances should not determine friendship and that accepting others, regardless of their differences, is essential.
  2. Kindness and Compassion: Clifford's acts of kindness, such as rescuing animals and helping others, highlight the importance of being caring and compassionate towards those in need.
  3. Overcoming Challenges: Clifford's size presents challenges, but with love, support, and determination, he overcomes them, teaching children the value of perseverance.
  4. Responsibility: Emily Elizabeth takes on the responsibility of caring for Clifford, highlighting the importance of being responsible for our pets and the commitments we make.

Reader's Takeaway

"Clifford the Big Red Dog" is a delightful children's book that captures the imagination and hearts of young readers. Through Clifford's adventures, children learn valuable lessons about friendship, kindness, and acceptance. The lovable characters and colorful illustrations make this book a timeless classic that continues to inspire and entertain generations of children.


Norman Bridwell's "Clifford the Big Red Dog" has become a cherished children's book that has captivated readers for decades. With its endearing characters, engaging plot, and valuable life lessons, this timeless classic continues to be a favorite among young readers. Clifford's adventures teach children the importance of acceptance, kindness, and overcoming challenges, making this book a must-read for every child's bookshelf.

Clifford the Big Red Dog FAQ

  1. What is 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' about?

    Clifford the Big Red Dog is a children's book about a loveable and gigantic red dog named Clifford. The book follows the adventures of Clifford and his owner, Emily Elizabeth, as they navigate through various situations and learn valuable life lessons.

  2. Who is the author of 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    The author of 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' is Norman Bridwell.

  3. Is 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' is part of a series of children's books featuring Clifford as the main character. There are numerous books in the series, each exploring different adventures and life lessons.

  4. What age group is 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' suitable for?

    'Clifford the Big Red Dog' is suitable for children aged 3 to 8 years old. The book's simple language, vibrant illustrations, and relatable characters make it engaging for young readers.

  5. Are there any TV adaptations or movies based on 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    Yes, 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' has been adapted into a popular animated TV series. Additionally, a live-action/animated hybrid film based on the book is scheduled for release in 2021.

  6. What are some of the lessons taught in 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    Some of the lessons taught in 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' include the importance of friendship, kindness, and acceptance. The book also emphasizes the value of responsibility and the consequences of one's actions.

  7. Where can I buy 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    'Clifford the Big Red Dog' can be purchased from various bookstores, both online and offline. It is also available in e-book format for digital readers.

  8. Is 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' available in different languages?

    Yes, 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' has been translated into multiple languages to cater to a global audience. It is widely available in languages such as Spanish, French, German, and more.

  9. Are there any educational resources or activities related to 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    Yes, there are educational resources and activities available that complement 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'. These include coloring pages, worksheets, and interactive online games that promote learning and engagement.

  10. Is there a moral or message behind 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'?

    Yes, 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' conveys several morals and messages throughout the series. It encourages children to embrace their unique qualities, treat others with kindness, and learn from their mistakes.