Judge Lacey Worrell says that her love of Clifford would definitely end at the point where she has to clean up his big red poop.
Our reviews of Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Doghouse Adventures (published March 14th, 2007), Clifford's Really Big Movie (published September 21st, 2004), Clifford The Big Red Dog: Be My Big Red Valentine (published February 20th, 2008), Clifford The Big Red Dog: Clifford Tries His Best/Clifford's Schoolhouse (published March 22nd, 2005), Clifford The Big Red Dog: Dog Days Of Summer (published July 17th, 2011), and Clifford The Big Red Dog: Playtime With Clifford (published February 20th, 2008) are also available.
"I love Clifford, the Big Red Dog!"
Children's entertainment is much like entertainment aimed at adults; there is really, really good stuff out there, and then there is that which borders on the abysmal. The long-running Clifford television series is excellent, especially for very young children; it is the kind of show that teaches without preaching, and parents can feel confident (unlike with many animated feature films these days) that their children will not inadvertently be exposed to anything questionable.
Facts of the Case
Clifford is an oversized dog who lives on the mythical Birdwell Island with his loving, pint-sized owner, Emily Elizabeth. His unique size makes for fun adventures with his human and canine friends. Many recognizable voices are used in this series, most notably the late John Ritter (Three's Company). Other voice talents include Edie McClurg (Higglytown Heroes), Kel Mitchell (Kenan & Kel), Cree Summer (A Different World), and Erika Alexander (The Cosby Show).
The 10 stories in this collection include the following:
• "Jetta's Tall Tale"
• "Everyone Loves Clifford"
• "Clifford Grows Up"
• "Cyber Puppy Problems"
• "Welcome to the Doghouse"
• "A Friend in Need"
• "Stinky Friends"
• "Jetta's Friend"
• "Friends Forever"
• "Forgive & Forget"
This disc is recommended for ages 3 and up, which is appropriate; at 3, children should be able to follow the story in each segment. This DVD clocks in at just under two hours, which is extremely generous in light of the fact that many children's DVDs don't even break one hour. The stories are gentle and at times funny, and just short enough to hold the attention of little ones.
The Clifford series does an excellent job of showcasing characters' diversity without hitting kids over the head with it. For instance, Jetta's self-importance is a recurring theme, but the other characters are still kind to her, even when she is at her most obnoxious. She is accepted for who she is, flaws and all. The residents of Birdwell Island are of different ethnicities, and there is even a character in a wheelchair, but the characters act as though this is part of the landscape rather than something "very special" that has to have attention called to it over and over again. Even Clifford, with his oversized bulk frequently the source of problems, is treated with dignity and respect; his differences are embraced rather than ridiculed, and it is subtly effective.
It should also be noted that there are three bonus shorts included on the disc. They feature Speckle, a canine storybook character referred to when Emily Elizabeth reads Clifford bedtime stories.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The simple animation is unspectacular, even on DVD, although the colors are crisp and bright. Children older than six may find the simple storylines not compelling enough, but those younger than six will likely be delighted.
In light of the passing of John Ritter, who wasn't particularly well-known for this lasting contribution to children's entertainment until his death, this is a wholesome collection of entertaining stories for the littlest members of your household.
Judgment in favor of Everyone Loves Clifford. It is a solid investment for families who do not have a big DVD budget and therefore need their children to watch films over and over (and over) again. Also be sure to check out Clifford's Big Movie, a fine feature film that more than does this series justice.
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