Craighead County Judge Ed Hill will serve as reader for the August Stories in the Forest program at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, at The Mall at Turtle Creek. He will read Clifford’s Manners by Norman Bridwell and I’ll Always Love You by Paeony Lewis.
Kids love Clifford the big red dog. They have loved him since Scholastc Books published Clifford The Big Red Dog in 1962.
Clifford is something of a fluke – not only is he huge and red. But had it not been for the suggestion of an editor who looked at some sketches the author/illustrator submitted in an attempt to pick up some freelance illustration work, Clifford might not have existed at all.
But he does – and he must be one of the world’s favorite dogs, with books featuring the character having been translated into numerous other languages. As a matter of fact, there are more than 75 books in the Clifford series.
In many books Clifford gets in trouble – sometimes because of his enormous size – and sometimes because he is tempted into trouble by those around him. He always intends to be good – and to do the right thing. But, he does make mistakes.
In this particular book, Clifford demonstrates good manners, with the expectation that children should do the same. He says “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” when appropriate. He writes thank-you notes when he receives gifts, and he waits for his turn, uses a handkerchief when sneezing, shares toys, picks up his own trash, puts toys away, wipes shoes before going inside, knocks before entering a door and follows the rules.
Clifford’s Manners is a little different from most of the Clifford books, because there is no story line. But because it’s about Clifford, it’s still a great story to share.
The author grew up in Kokomo, Indiana, and studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and Cooper Union in New York. He was working as a commercial artist as a freelance filmstrip and slide illustrator when he decided to bring in some additional income by seeking work as an illustrator for children’s books.
But after visiting more than a dozen publishing houses with no takers, one editor advised him to write a story to go along with one of his pictures – a picture of a big red dog. So he took her advice, and three days later he had created and illustrated a book about a big red dog and his very small owner, Emily Elizabeth. He called the dog Clifford at the suggestion of his wife, Norma, who had an imaginary friend named Clifford when she was a child. And the child – that was easy, she was named for his infant daughter Emily Elizabeth.
The rest … as they say … is history. There are far too many Clifford books to list … and Bridwell and his wife now live on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Hill also will read I’ll Always Love You by Paeony Lewis and illustrated by Penny Ives. This book is a tender book about a mother’s love. In the story, Alex Bear accidentally breaks his mother’s favorite honey bowl.
Like many children, he’s hesitant to admit what has happened – even though it was an accident. So his approach is to ask his mother if she would love him if he did something he shouldn’t have done. Before telling his mother what has happened, he tests the waters by asking if she would love him if he did things like get into a pillow fight … forget to close the refrigerator door … get paint on the baby … or pour oatmeal over his head. Mama bear, of course, assures him she will always love him, but she also explains there are consequences to actions.
In the end, he tells her what happened when he was trying to get the bowl so he could bring her some toast and honey. In a sweet little twist, he goes off to his room to make her a new bowl.
Though children don’t realize it, this book takes a look at behavior, remorse, forgiveness and accountability.
It has been translated into more than a half dozen languages and was written by a British author Paeony Lewis. It was published by ME Media in 2008. Lewis grew up loving to read. After attending the University of East Anglia, she held a number of jobs that involved writing – things like advertising copy for magazines and newspapers, producing catalogues and writing press releases for books. Eventually she found what she really loves – writing children’s books.
Other children’s books she has written include Best Friends or Not?, No More Yawning, Hurry Up, Birthday, No More Biscuits, No More Cookies, Cinderella’s Wedding and The Castle Awakes.
The Stories in the Forest program gives parents some quality time with their children and exposes children to some favorite books of local residents. It is an outgrowth of the St. Bernards Women’s Advisory Council’s tremendously successful Kidz Fun Fair.
The Women’s Advisory Council is a group of about 120 area women who have joined together in an advisory role to give input on important healthcare issues impacting women and children. They encourage educational as well as service outreach efforts designed to make Jonesboro a better place to live, work and raise families.