David McKee (2nd January 1935 - 6th April 2022)

David McKee (2nd January 1935 - 6th April 2022)

So sad to hear of the passing of one of my childhood (and adult) heroes, David McKee.

Growing up in 70s Britain could be a terrifying experience for a small child, with numerous Public Information films warning of the life threatening dangers of flying a kite too close to a pylon or messing about near a dirty pond. But to counterpoint this was the beautiful, calm and soothing experience of watching an episode of Mr Benn. It was such a reassuringly quaint English programme, underpinned by many, fanciful flights of imagination. It really spoke to me.

For someone who created so many wonderful children’s stories and whose drawing style is instantly, classically recognisable, McKee was not exactly the household name that many of his contemporaries were. I learnt today that he was quite a humble and modest man, which has endeared him to me even more, when you consider that he created one of the most iconic Children’s characters, the multicoloured patchwork elephant, Elmer.

When you think how commercial Elmer could easily have become, particularly given his modern credentials of inclusivity and pacifism, it is a testament to McKee that he didn’t really let this happen.

So tonight I’ll be digging out my Mr Benn dvd and watching an episode in his honour…with a nice glass of cherryade Corona, of course!

I’ve put a selection of our David McKee titles on the featured titles page.

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