NEW YORK, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., the global children's publishing, education and media company, announced today that it will kick off the 50th anniversary celebration of Clifford the Big Red Dog® on September 24th – in conjunction with the publication of NORMAN BRIDWELL'S CLIFFORD COLLECTION and the 'Biggest Birthday Party Ever' at Scholastic headquarters in New York City, a live event which will be streamed to classrooms nationwide. The campaign will span the school year and will include the launch of new publishing, a birthday card campaign and a national sweepstakes leading up to Clifford's official birthday on February 14, 2013. Since the first Clifford book was published in 1963, the property has expanded to include 126 million books in print and an Emmy® Award-winning television series – currently in its twelfth consecutive season on PBS KIDS in the US; the show has been sold to 30 countries in 12 languages worldwide.
"For 50 years, Clifford has earned a place among the most iconic and beloved characters in children's literature and entertainment," said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc. "We are delighted to invite children and families to participate in this BIG celebration – and to congratulate Norman Bridwell on this extraordinary milestone."
Highlights of the Clifford 50th Anniversary year include:
'BIGGEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER' KICK OFF EVENT / LIVE CLASSROOM WEBCAST
On September 24, 2012, at 10:00AM ET, Scholastic will host 'Clifford's BIGGEST Birthday Party Ever' – a LIVE celebration at Scholastic's New York City headquarters and webcast to classrooms nationwide. Hundreds of children will gather to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Clifford and Norman Bridwell will be on hand for a BIG reveal on the facade of the company's iconic SoHo building. Children attending the live event and joining via webcast will get to participate in some BIG birthday fun – including activities that reinforce the social / emotional, literacy and language skills that Clifford espouses.
The anniversary will see a variety of releases: in September, Scholastic will publish NORMAN BRIDWELL'S CLIFFORD COLLECTION, a collection of six classic stories originally published between 1963-1977. Also included is an original letter from Norman Bridwell to the reader, information about the creation of Clifford—including the original and never-before-seen 1962 painting that inspired the Clifford series— and the story behind the real Emily Elizabeth. Spring 2013 will bring the publication of CLIFFORD'S BIRTHDAY PARTY and an all-new board book, CLIFFORD'S BEDTIME STORY. Both the COLLECTION and CLIFFORD'S BIRTHDAY PARTY will be published in simultaneous e-book and Spanish editions. In addition to the more than fifty Clifford books in print, Storia™, Scholastic's teacher recommended eReading app for kids, will debut more than twenty Clifford e-books.
September also marks the launch of Clifford's BIG Birthday App for iOS and Android ($0.99) – a brand-new, must-have birthday app. In it, Emily Elizabeth invites players to join her in Clifford's BIG doghouse as she works to create a surprise party for his birthday. The app features three highly interactive and replayable birthday-themed games, including a leveled word game that builds literacy skills using augmented reality. Each game reinforces language skills needed for early readers, including spelling, word families, and sight words.
For grown ups caught up in BIG nostalgia for the dog, Scholastic will launch three Facebook apps on Clifford's Facebook page to get fans prepared for the February birthday. Beginning in November, fans can create and upload their very own Clifford inspired birthday cake and vote on their fan favorite! In December, Scholastic will launch a Clifford-themed game to get ready for the party, and in January, 'Clifford's BIG Red Shirt Builder' app will allow fans to create their very own Clifford tee shirts.
BIRTHDAY CARD CAMPAIGN
Clifford's BIGGEST fans will be able to send him a personalized birthday card throughout the year at www.scholastic.com/clifford. Online, children will be able to create their own card by choosing party friends and decorations for birthday hats while grown-ups will have a chance to create their very own 'BIG Red Ears' personalized photos and share them via various social media platforms. Offline, through Scholastic Book Clubs, teachers can work with their students to send classroom cards to Clifford.
Clifford fans of all ages can enter 'Clifford's BIG Birthday Sweepstakes' for a chance to be a part of Clifford's BIG Day on February 14 by winning a Clifford celebration in their hometown. Winners will have the opportunity to invite 50 friends and family to a BIG Clifford themed birthday celebration – close to home! Offline, teachers can enter Scholastic Book Club's 'Clifford's BIG Birthday Classroom Sweepstakes' for a chance to win a Clifford birthday party for the classroom.
In December, PBS Kids will air the broadcast premiere of 'Clifford's Really Big Movie' (check local listings). The animated movie, originally released in 2004 by Warner Brothers, features the late John Ritter as the voice of Clifford as well as Wayne Brady, Jenna Elfman and John Goodman. Now in its twelfth consecutive season on PBS KIDS, the Clifford the Big Red Dog television series is one of the longest-running kids programs on television.
Scholastic is delighted to be working with several organizations to join in the birthday celebration. Beginning in September, participating Y-USAs will host Clifford themed birthday parties at Ys across the country. HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer management organization in the country, will continue to partner with Scholastic on the ongoing Clifford BE BIG campaign – which invites everyone to take action and raise awareness about how Clifford's BIG Ideas can make the world a better place.
HOME VIDEO AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS
Lionsgate plans to release a new celebratory DVD in early 2013. The property will see new plush toys releases from Douglas and Zoobies, games and puzzles from Patch Products and Canadian Games, party supplies from Buy Seasons, and coloring and activity tiles from Bendon, among others. Scholastic Audio will include never-before-heard bonus material from Norman Bridwell on a number of its Clifford releases. A live show, 'Clifford LIVE', is on tour and will continue through Spring 2013.
In his beloved dog, Norman Bridwell has created a literary classic embraced by generations around the world - using humor to teach the importance of social values. Clifford's 'BIG Ideas' focus on simple, tangible life lessons that help young children navigate their world as they become active members of their communities – teaching generations of kids how to be kind, work well with others and play fair. Through relatable storytelling, Clifford reinforces the importance of literacy, letting kids know that reading is fun.
SOURCE Scholastic Inc.