2012-2013 School Year Celebration Includes New Publishing, Apps, Live Classroom Event,  Birthday Card Campaign, National Sweepstakes, Broadcast Event, New Products, and Promotional Partners

Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced 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 that will be streamed to classrooms nationwide.

The campaign will span the school year and include the launch of new publishing, a birthday card campaign, and a national sweepstakes leading up to Clifford’s official birthday on February 14. 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 U.S.; the show has been sold to 30 countries in 12 languages worldwide.

Highlights of the Clifford 50th Anniversary year include:

“Biggest Birthday Party Ever” Kick Off Event/Live Classroom Webcast
On September 24 at 10:00 a.m., 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 façade of the company’s SoHo building.

In September, Scholastic will publish Norman Bridwell’s Clifford Collection, a collection of six classic stories originally published between 1963 and 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. Next spring 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. Storia, Scholastic’s e-Reading app for kids, will debut more than twenty Clifford e-books.

New Apps
September also marks the launch of Clifford’s Big Birthday App for iOS and Android. In it, Emily Elizabeth invites players to join her in Clifford’s doghouse as she works to create a surprise party for his birthday. The app features three 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, 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 create their very own Clifford T-shirts.

Birthday Card Campaign
Clifford’s biggest fans will be able to send him a personalized birthday card throughout the year at http://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 personalized photos and share them via various social media platforms.

National Sweepstakes
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 Clifford themed birthday celebration. 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. 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.

Promotional Partners
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 next year. 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 bonus material from Norman Bridwell on a number of its Clifford releases. A live show, Clifford Live, is on tour and will continue through next spring.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.