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David McKee, the best selling children’s author and creator of Mr Benn has died at the age of 87.

The news was confirmed by his publisher Andersen Press who say he died at his home in the South of France after a short illness.

McKee started out in children’s book back in 1964 with Two Can Toucan and became a household name selling millions of copies of his Mr Benn and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant books.

Elmer remains one of the most iconic and widely read children’s book series of all time, selling over 10 million copies.

David McKee, the best selling children’s author and creator of Mr Benn has died at the age of 87

David McKee, the best selling children’s author and creator of Mr Benn has died at the age of 87

David McKee, the best selling children’s author and creator of Mr Benn has died at the age of 87

His character Mr Benn has appeared in several children's books a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat who goes into a fancy-dress shop to try on a particular outfit and goes on a magic adventure that matches his costume

His character Mr Benn has appeared in several children's books a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat who goes into a fancy-dress shop to try on a particular outfit and goes on a magic adventure that matches his costume

His character Mr Benn has appeared in several children’s books a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat who goes into a fancy-dress shop to try on a particular outfit and goes on a magic adventure that matches his costume

McKee wrote and illustrated 29 original Elmer books, and collectively they have been translated into more than 60 languages with new novelty books, toys and clothing available around the world based on David’s beloved character. 

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

McKee started out in children's book back in 1964 with Two Can Toucan and became a household name selling millions of copies of his Mr Benn and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant books

McKee started out in children's book back in 1964 with Two Can Toucan and became a household name selling millions of copies of his Mr Benn and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant books

McKee started out in children’s book back in 1964 with Two Can Toucan and became a household name selling millions of copies of his Mr Benn and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant books 

‘Not only was I fortunate to be his publisher, he was also a wonderful friend, and he will be missed by many more people than he could ever imagine.

‘My thoughts, and those of everyone at Andersen Press, are with his family and many friends around the world.’ 

The author wrote 29 Elmer books which have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

McKee was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University at Plymouth College of Art in 2011.

He was named the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2020 and also won Illustrator of the Year at that year’s British Book Awards. 

Source: Daily Mail

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