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Mr Benn author David McKee dies aged 87

The writer and illustrator also created the Elmer series and Not Now, Bernard.

07 April 2022

David McKee, the children’s author and illustrator known for the Mr Benn series, has died at the age of 87.

He died surrounded by his family “following a short illness” in the South of France, where he spent much of his later life.

The Devon-born writer sold more than 10 million copies of his books around the world.

A statement from his publisher, Andersen Press, said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of David McKee, beloved author and illustrator for children, and creator of iconic children’s books Elmer, Not Now, Bernard and Mr Benn.

“David died surrounded by his family, following a short illness in the South of France, where he has spent a lot of time in recent years. He was 87.

“All at Andersen Press hope his spirit lives on for many more generations through his joyful, heartfelt stories.”

His long-time publisher, Klaus Flugge, said: “I am devastated by the sudden death of my best friend, David McKee. He was as close to Andersen Press as I am.

David McKee created Elmer the Patchwork Elephant (Ewen MacDonald/Alamy)

“He was there from the very beginning and essential to the origin of the company. He became great friends with everyone he encountered – staff, authors and illustrators alike.

“His was a singular voice and a shining light in children’s books that highlighted inclusivity, diversity and parts of our world that are not always present in publishing for children.

“His classic books include Elmer, Two Monsters and Not Now, Bernard, amongst many, many others, have become part of the canon of children’s literature, and we hope will be enjoyed by children for many more generations to come.”

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