The books that inspired Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS, now in its ninth season, were born of desperation in 1963, according to an interview with 81-year-old author Norman Bridwell in the Seattle Times. A woman whose job it was to read unsolicited manuscripts–known as the “slush pile”–at Harper & Row, knew that publisher would not be interested in it. But she “put it in her purse without telling anyone” and took it to Scholastic, Bridwell recalled. “I was just trying to find work,” he said. “I’d been out of work and had a brand new baby daughter who wasn’t sleeping through the night and my mother was visiting from Indiana. It was a very tense time…. I’m so lucky. If that woman hadn’t come in that day (to look at the slush pile), things would have been very different.” Today there are more than 126 million “Clifford” books in print in 13 languages.