Clifford the Big Red Dog: The Movie Graphic Novel

Scholastic. Sept. 2021. 96p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338665116; pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781338665109.
Gr 2-5–Clifford the Big Red Dog, the star of one of the most famous canine picture books of all time, is about to make his big-screen debut; set in New York City, this graphic novel based on the new film will appeal to fans of the original stories but will also introduce Clifford and his owner Emily Elizabeth to newcomers. When stray puppy Clifford wanders into Emily Elizabeth’s backpack one day, she wishes that they could both be “big and strong so the world couldn’t hurt us.” Picked on at school, where she’s one of the few scholarship students, and with busy, divorced parents, Emily Elizabeth needs a friend just as much as Clifford. Then her wish comes true in a way she never expects—overnight, Clifford becomes enormous. And soon, a genetics company specializing in supersizing animals is after him. On the one hand, this is a simple story about a very large dog. What makes it memorable is Clifford’s connection with Emily Elizabeth and how both manage to take care of each other. Emily Elizabeth gains confidence, confronting a bully at school and standing up for Clifford even though keeping him safe seems impossible. Readers see Clifford get into trouble, knock plenty of things over with his tail, and become the friend that Emily Elizabeth loves and deserves. The colorful and cartoony illustrations and the exciting story will hook kids. Emily Elizabeth and her family are white.
VERDICT For old and new fans of the big red dog, and for anyone who likes their adventure stories with a warm heart at the center.

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