Dav Pilkey
"Trallalala" "Have you read your UNDERPANTS today?"

"Dav" Pilkey Jr. is a cartoonist, author and illustrator of children's books. Dav is best known as the author and illustrator of Captain Underpants and the graphic novel series Dog Man. 

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966 and has always loved to draw and create comic books. In primary school, he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. He often got into trouble in class for his 'behaviour' and was sent out to the hallway. It was in these moments, sitting alone in the hallway, where Dav invented the Captain Underpants character. He started creating comics about his unlikely hero, who bravely defends "truth, justice and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony."

Have a look at the comic The early years that Dav created about his school days.

Dav Pilkey has produced a number popular, award-winning books and is the winner of the California Young Reader Medal.

He majored in English at Kent State University as he wanted to become a teacher. But that all changed when Dav’s professor noticed his notebook filled with lively cartoons and drawings and asked if he had ever thought about writing and illustrating children’s books. Right then and there Dav decided to make children’s books his career.

In 1986, at age 19, Dav entered his first book, World War Won into a national competition for student authors and won in his age category and his book was published. 

Despite the success from the competition, he faced a lot of rejection in the following years, but he persevered and in 1997, the first Captain Underpants book was released. The series has sold more than 80 million copies, has been translated into over 25 languages and DreamWorks released the Captain Underpants animated movie in 2017. Netflix is now streaming The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants TV show. Dog Man, his more recent series, is another big success and is a #1 New York Times bestseller with more than 13 million copies worldwide. 

Dav has several thoughts about why his series are so popular. There are the silly humour and outrageous plots, of course. But Dav also believes that kids respond to the friendship and loyalty of George and Harold. Dav often hears that his books help kids with learning and attention issues and believes that joy and confidence can encourage a struggling reader to become a lifelong booklover. 

Fun facts

  1. The Captain Underpants books often appear on banned books lists for ‘insensitivity’ and ‘encouraging children to disobey authority’.
  2. His middle name is Murray.
  3. His books in the Dog Man series are all a play on words from titles of classic novels.
    Grime and Punishment (coming soon) = Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
    Fetch-22 = Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
    A Tale of Two Kitties = A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
    Lord of the Fleas = Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
    For Whom the Ball Rolls = For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
  4. He changed the spelling of his name while working at Pizza Hut, when his name was misspelled as Dav on his nametag, and the rest is history.
  5. He has one sibling, an older sister named Cindy.
  6. Has written books under pennames including George Beard, Harold Hutchins, and Sue Denim.
  7. He lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife, Sayuri Pilkey.
  8. He had a four-inch-long Japanese rhinoceros beetle named Megalon.
  9. His star sign is Pisces.
  10. He spends a lot of time in Minami Izu, Japan.

Get started

  • Reserve Dav Pilkey's titles and collect from your local library.
  • Read the books on your device. Need help setting up your device for eBooks? Watch this video tutorial.
  • Listen to the stories on your device. Need help setting up your device for eAudiobooks? Watch this video tutorial.
  • Watch the Captain Underpants: the first epic movie on DVD.

On the web

  • Visit the official Dav Pilkey website. 
  • Go to Dav Pilkey At Home to have creative fun with some of your favourite characters from Dog Man and Captain Underpants!
  • Teach yourself to draw with these books from the library. 
  • Play Planet Pilkey on your device. Action! Adventure! Supa-silly stuff! Explore a wild and wacky mashed-up world featuring all your favourite Dav Pilkey characters, including Dog Man, Ook and Gluk, Super Diaper Baby, Captain Underpants, and more! App Store | Google Play
  • Make your own Dog Man costume.

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