Scholastic is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Clifford the Big Red Dog, written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell, with a Clifford's Big Birthday app, a Monday party streamed live at, and Norman Bridwell's Clifford Collection, a reissue of the first six stories. Five facts about Clifford:

1.Bridwell, 84, says he happened to have a jar of red paint on his deskwhen he did the original painting and decided to "make him a littledifferent."

2. The dog's original name wasTiny, but Bridwell's wife, Norma, thought that was silly and suggestedthe name of her imaginary childhood friend.

3.Bridwell's manuscript was rejected by nine other publishers beforeScholastic bought it. Now, with more than 100 tiles, there are 126million copies in print.

4. Emily Elizabeth,the little girl who loves Clifford, was named for Bridwell's infantdaughter, who's now 51 and a preschool teacher near Boston.

5.The animated PBS TV series (but not the original books) are set onBirdwell Island, inspired by Bridwell's real home on Martha's Vineyard,Mass.