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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Clifford the Big Red Dog is chock-full of positive lessons and likable characters -- and may remind parents of their own childhood fascination with Clifford. Kids are often magnetically drawn to stories about Clifford because he's the magical pet every child wishes for. The series is full of educational messages on social, emotional, and physical matters.
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What's the story?
The magic of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG is that it puts an extraordinary spin on a normal situation. On the surface, it's a cartoon about a girl and her dog. But the dog happens to be bigger than most houses in town and carries on intelligent conversations with other animal friends. The series follows a cast of animal and human characters through everyday experiences. In each episode, a main character is exposed to or creates some kind of conflict, and then the character resolves the problem and becomes a better person (or pet) as a result.
Is it any good?
Norman Bridwell's Clifford the Big Red Dog series of books dates back to 1963, so most parents with young children probably remember reading the stories themselves. The reason the intrigue spans generations is quite simple: Everybody who loves dogs wishes they had one like Clifford. He's gigantic, playful, and loving, and he's an unfailing friend to owner Emily Elizabeth.
The lessons of each episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog play out in an uncomplicated, formulaic manner that's easy for young minds to grasp. Sometimes, the lessons are learned by Clifford and his canine pals T-Bone and Cleo. Other times, Emily Elizabeth and her human friends do the growing. Themes have included how to be a good houseguest, why it's important to avoid prejudging others, and taking responsibility for one's actions. As with spin-off series Clifford's Puppy Days, this program's content is based on ten "Big Ideas" that provide the backbone of the show's moral messages. Some of the Big Ideas include helping others, showing respect, playing fair, and sharing -- universal values that kids should be exposed to in the preschool years.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the issues that Clifford and his friends have to deal with in Clifford the Big Red Dog, including jealousy, honesty, and friendship. What lessons do your kids learn from watching the show?
Are Clifford and his pals good role models?
What are some of Clifford's "big ideas"?
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