For years we’ve been a NORAD Santa Tracker family, but today we discovered Google’s Santa Tracker. It’s super cute, filled with funny little animations.
Being Google, it also give you great data. As I write this sentence, Santa is 14,396 km away from New York City, and he has delivered more than 2.5 billion presents. Olive contends that proves he has elves that do some of the delivering as well, and indeed, Google shows us present-carrying elves wearing jetpacks. We also saw an in-air landing strip where Santa takes a nap while presents are refilled into the sleigh from a Rudolph blimp.
There are also games. Both kids did well delivering presents over the global grid. We’re exited to see what other surprises await.
With great sadness I’ve learned that Norman Bridwell passed away. I didn’t grow up with Clifford books, but Clifford has been a massive part of my professional life.
In 1999, I got my first job in kids’ media working as an asset manager on a Clifford the Big Red Dog CD-ROM, Clifford Thinking Adventures. Incredibly, a sullen teenager has posted a YouTube video playing through this game. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Shake666Productions!
As a character, Clifford was such fun to work with. His size allowed for great sight gags, and it was always a great challenge to give the Clifford games the heart that the books had. Emily Elizabeth and Clifford really loved each other. Since that first CD-ROM, I think I’ve worked on a total of 6? 7? Clifford games. I went from asset manager to game designer, producer, and writer, always trying to do justice to the world Norman Bridwell created.
One of my most recent titles, Clifford Ready-to-Read on Leapster, has become a favorite of Ozzie’s. What a treat to introduce my kids to Clifford. Out of nowhere tonight, Ozzie chose his Clifford toy to sleep with, and darn it if I didn’t get choked up a bit.
Clifford is a big presence in pop culture, too. I’ll always love this Louis C.K. bit about Clifford.
Thank you, Norman Bridwell, for my favorite big, red dog.