With most art, the general public only gets to see the finished and polished product. Paintings, sculptures, and songs all seem to appear out of thin air, as if summoned directly from Muses themselves. But any artist, if asked, will go on at length about the laborious creative process and their struggles wrenching beauty from the ordinary.
Children’s books are no different. We were raised on masterpieces like Green Eggs and Ham, The Ugly Caterpillar, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but those all went through years of ideation and editing before they reached that final form.
Norman Bridwell, the author of Clifford the Big Red Dog, had dozens of false starts as he wrote his classic children’s tale. Here are some of the more dubious first tries that ultimately failed to find their creative footing:
Makeup Time With Clifford
Clifford Goes to the Pound
Clifford Gets a Heartworm
Clifford Eats a Full Bag of Tampons
Clifford Licks the In-laws
Clifford Crashes Beerfest
Senior Clifford Needs a Diaper
Clifford Gets Neutered
Clifford and the Cone of Shame (a reimagining of Neutered which also fell short)