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David McKee: an incredible career

The front cover of Elmer and the Lost Treasure

David McKee, creator of Elmer and Not Now, Bernard, has won the 2020 BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

Funny, poignant, and always celebrating difference, David's books have entertained and inspired countless children over his long career, from patchwork elephants to magical costumes which transport their wearer into another world. Here's our top pick of David's collection.

Interview: David speaks to Emily Drabble about winning the Lifetime Achievement Award

What makes David so special: Authors and illustrators share what David's books mean to them

More about the Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Elmer

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2-5

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  • Elmer

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2-5

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    The first book in David McKee’s iconic series about a friendly, fun elephant and his adventures, Elmer is a true ambassador of inc…

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  • Not Now, Bernard

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-5

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  • Not Now, Bernard

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-5

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    The classic tale of Bernard, whose distracted parents fail to notice that their son has been eaten and replaced by a monster.

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  • Tusk Tusk

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 4+

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  • Tusk Tusk

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 4+

    A fable of human conflict, Tusk Tusk deals with a difficult topic is a wonderfully clear way.

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  • Mr Benn: Gladiator

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-8

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  • Mr Benn: Gladiator

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-8

    Reading age:

    Mr Benn tries on a Roman gladiator costume in his favourite costume shop and is magically transported back to Roman Britain! The E…

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  • Two Monsters

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-8

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  • Two Monsters

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 4-8

    Reading age:

    A red monster and a blue monster live on opposite sides of a rocky mountain: they can’t see each other, but they can argue through…

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  • The Conquerors

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • The Conquerors

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 5+

    The General of a powerful country sends his troops into the last unconquered territory, but to their surprise, when they march acr…

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  • Denver

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 5+

    Reading age: 6+

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  • Denver

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 5+

    Reading age: 6+

    A fable told in classic David McKee style, complete with striking colours and a slightly surreal illustration style

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  • Elmer and Butterfly

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Elmer and Butterfly

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 5+

    One day, as Elmer is strolling through the jungle, he hears Butterfly cry for help. Elmer rushes to her rescue, and in return, she…

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  • Elmer's Opposites

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Elmer's Opposites

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2+

    Reading age: 5+

    This little book concentrates on introducing the concept of opposites, looking at differences in areas such as size, speed, emotio…

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  • Elmer’s Weather

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 0-3

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  • Elmer’s Weather

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 0-3

    Reading age:

    Everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant is experiencing all kinds of weather in this chunky board book for the very youngest book …

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  • Elmer's Day

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 6months+

    Reading age: 3+

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  • Elmer's Day

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 6months+

    Reading age: 3+

    What does the world's favourite patchwork elephant do all day?

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  • Elmer and Snake

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Elmer and Snake

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 2+

    Reading age: 5+

    A group of mischievous elephants decide to play a trick on Elmer, the famous multicolour patchwork elephant, so they ask Snake for…

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  • Elmer's Friends

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 0+

    Reading age: 5+

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  • Elmer's Friends

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 0+

    Reading age: 5+

    A colourful board book in which the ever-popular Elmer the Elephant praises each of his friends for their different strengths

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  • Elmer and Papa Red

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Elmer and Papa Red

    Author: David McKee

    Interest level: 3+

    Reading age: 7+

    It is nearly time for the annual visit of Papa Red and the older elephants ask Elmer to amuse the youngsters while they prepare th…

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