February's Author of the Month
Author of the Month: Norman Bridwell
For the month of February we will highlight the works of Norman Bridwell.
About Norman Bridwell
Growing up in Kokomo, Indiana, Norman Bridwell was always drawing. But not everyone believed his drawings or writing would someday delight millions of children (and parents and teachers) around the world. “I always liked to draw,” said Bridwell, “but I was never considered very good. In school there was always someone better than me; the art teacher always liked their work better than mine. Teachers didn't like my writing either.”
After high school, Bridwell wanted to turn his love of drawing into a career. He studied first at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and then moved to New York, where he took classes at another art school, Cooper Union, for two years.
Next, 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. After being told his illustrations of Clifford were too ordinary, a critic suggested he write a story to go along with them to help to sell the illustrations. He wrote a story and submitted it to a publishing company about a young girl and a horse-sized bloodhound, and the story became Clifford The Big Red Dog. Three weeks later, the publisher called and said they wanted to publish his work.
By 1962, Bridwell was married to his wife Norma Howard, and they had a daughter Emily Elizabeth, as well as a son named Timothy.
Over 40 years later, Clifford "the Big Red Dog" continues to "grow" with more books, television shows and movies! Over 44 million copies of his books are published in many different languages for children all over the world.
Although Clifford books are based on rather ordinary events, such as camping, going to the seashore, or the circus, when the Big Red Dog comes on the scene, things start to happen. “Clifford always tries to do the right thing,” Bridwell explained.
But what Norman Bridwell learned and what he tried to stress to young writers is that rejection is not a reason to give up. “Sometimes you'll do something that you really like and no one else does. You'll feel terrible, but you've just got to press on and keep trying. If you like doing it and keep working at it, then someday you will succeed.”
Our Reading List
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten
Join Clifford in this brand-new storybook as he spends the day with Emily Elizabeth in kindergarten! Emily Elizabeth is starting Kindergarten and she's a little nervous. Good thing that the teacher sent a note home that says each child can bring something from home to make the transition a little easier. But the teacher didn't bet on a child bringing something--or someone--as big as Clifford!
Learn to share with the Big Red Dog!
Clifford loves to share--his water with the birds, his bench with the girl, his ball with his friend--and everyone loves to share with Clifford!
Clifford the Firehouse Dog
It only takes a little to BE BIG! Emily Elizabeth and Clifford go to visit his brother, who is a firehouse dog. When an alarm goes off, Clifford comes to the rescue--he HELPS OTHER...
Clifford Birthday Party
Emily Elizabeth throws Clifford the biggest birthday party on the block!
Everyone wants to give their special friend Clifford a special birthday present. But the blow-up ball gets blown up, the pinata gets smashed, the sweater is too small, and the beauty parlor gift certificate just didn't seem exactly right. Finally, Clifford gets the best present of all--his family there to celebrate with him.
Clifford Valentine’s Day
Share in the funny adventures of Clifford's first Valentine's Day with Emily Elizabeth. Then read what happens when Clifford is feeling sad. All his friends find a way to show how much they love him!
Clifford for President
Clifford is running for President . . . of the Bridwell Island dog park! Emily Elizabeth needs to put up a candidate for a class project, so of course she nominates the Big Red Dog who's always a big winner!
February's Artistic Corner
Pom Pom Painting
1 paper plate
Red washable paint
Printable/valentine heart template
Pour red paint on a paper plate.
Pinch pom pom with clothes and dip into paint.
Pounce (do not spread the paint) the pom pom’s on the paper filling in the entire heart template.
Cherry Tree Thumbprint Art
Cut out brown construction paper in the shape of a tree trunk
Use green tempra paint to paint the tree leaves
Paint red apples on the limbs using thumbprints
Tie to history lesson about President's Day and the first president of the US
To reinforce our unit on healthy eating and food groups, one of our art project this month is to make a salad and read the book, "Rabbit Food."
February's Inspired Snack
Apple smiles are so cute and easy to prepare.
What you'll need:
· Red apple lips
· Lemon juice
· Mini Marshmallow teeth
· Peanut Butter gums
What to do:
· wash & slice apples
· sprinkle apple slices with lemon juice
· spread peanut butter on apple slice
· add a layer of marshmallows
· top with apple slice with peanut butter spread.
For students with peanut allergies, we substitute with nutella. This yummy snack will leave smiles on all our faces!