Talk about getting rejected. Norman Bridwell can tell you stories about getting turned down by more than a dozen publishing houses when he was shopping around his drawings of a house-sized dog. One of those editors who turned him down suggested that Bridwell write a story to accompany the pictures. That lead to Bridwell’s tremendous success in writing a line of childrens books about a big red dog named Clifford. The series continues with the lovable canine celebrating his first Valentine’s Day.
In Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day, the main character once again gets into some innocent trouble – nothing mean-spirited, just the usual bit of puppy problems. This time, Clifford, who was a puppy in this story, helps his owner, Emily Elizabeth, make a special Valentine for her father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother.
While Emily Elizabeth uses scissors, the small red puppy rips the paper with his teeth. First, he gets covered in glue when he tries to get a sniff. The problems get worse after that and hilarity ensues. Our red hero gets an unexpected tour of the post office’s inner workings when he and Emily Elizabeth try to mail the Valentine. Somehow, the dog falls down a mail chute and gets lost in carts filled with letters. When everything gets sorted out, the two return home safely and Emily Elizabeth lets her puppy know that he will always be her favorite Valentine.
This dog has been a readers’ favorite character for many years, making Bridwell one of the most popular author of books geared toward the 4 to 8 persuasion. And Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day is a wonderful addition to the series. His drawings are bright and lively, befitting a feisty puppy. You can also find a cartoon series on PBS.
Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day is not only a great read, but it’s a lesson in pet ownership. It teaches kids about the responsibilities of owning a dog, particularly a frisky puppy. Try asking your kids how you’d handle the situations that the dog found himself in. Owning a pet can be a lot of hard work, but it can also be a wonderful experience but only if you think through some of these things first. This book is a wonderful resource for doing so.