Dav Pilkey

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Dav Pilkey
Pilkey at a book event in 2018
Pilkey at a book event in 2018
BornDavid Murray Pilkey Jr.
(1966-03-04) March 4, 1966 (age 56)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Pen nameGeorge Beard
Harold Hutchins
Sue Denim
  • Writer
  • illustrator
  • cartoonist
GenreChildren's literature, comedy
Years active1987–present
Notable worksDragon series
Captain Underpants series
Dog Man series
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot series
Dumb Bunnies series
Sayuri Pilkey
(m. 2005)
Dav Pilkey signature.svg

David "Dav" Murray Pilkey Jr. (/ˈdv/; born March 4, 1966)[1] is an American cartoonist, author, and illustrator of children's literature. He is best known as the author and illustrator of the children's book series, Captain Underpants, and the children's graphic novel series, Dog Man.

Life and career[edit]

Pilkey speaks in 2019

Pilkey was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 4, 1966 to the Reverend David Pilkey, Sr. and Barbara who was the church organist.[2][3] He has one older sister. Pilkey was brought up in a conservative Christian household and went to Christian schools throughout his life.

Pilkey was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia as a child.[4] In elementary school in Elyria, Ohio, Pilkey was frequently reprimanded for his behavior in class and thus usually sat at a desk in the school hallway, where he created the Captain Underpants character.[5] In 1987, Pilkey wrote his first book, World War Won, an allegorical fable inspired by the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, in a national competition for student authors and won in his age category. The book's publication in 1987 was included in the award.[2]

The atypical spelling of his first name came when the "e" in "Dave" was left off his name tag while working at Pizza Hut.[6]

Pilkey graduated from Kent State University.[7] He married Sayuri Pilkey in 2005.[8]

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby was published in 2002 and was Pilkey's first full complete graphic novel. It appeared at No. 6 on the USA Today bestseller list for all books, both adult and children's, and was also a New York Times bestselling book for Children's Middle Grade. The first Super Diaper Baby graphic novel was published with Scholastic years before Scholastic created the Graphix imprint.[9]

Pilkey took a break from writing for a few years to care for his terminally ill father (who died on November 13, 2008), but in 2009 agreed with Scholastic to publish four new books.[10][11] The first two are graphic novels: The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future, released on August 10, 2010; and Super Diaper Baby 2: Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, released on June 28, 2011. Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Re-turn of Tippy Tinkletrousers was released on August 28, 2012, and Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers was released in January 2013.

Pilkey and his wife live on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

On March 25, 2021, Dav Pilkey announced on his YouTube channel that he and Scholastic will cease further publication of the book The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, and will remove it from retailers and libraries due to some stereotyping of the characters in the book. Pilkey stated that he intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. He also stated that even unintentional and passive stereotypes are harmful to everyone. Pilkey will donate his entire advance, past, and future royalties from the book to organizations promoting diversity that are designed to stop violence against Asians.[12][13][14]


Dragon Series[edit]

  • Dragon Gets By (1991)
  • A Friend For Dragon (1991)
  • Dragon's Merry Christmas (1991)
  • Dragon's Fat Cat (1992)
  • Dragon's Halloween (1993)

The Dragon series was originally published with Orchard Books. Scholastic then reprinted the series in 2019. Dav Pilkey used watercolors purchased at a local grocery store to paint the illustrations in these books. The series became a stop-motion animation TV show with 78 episodes from 2004 to 2007.

Dumb Bunnies[edit]

  • The Dumb Bunnies (1994)
  • The Dumb Bunnies' Easter (1995)
  • Make Way for Dumb Bunnies (1996)
  • The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo (1997)

Pilkey authored The Dumb Bunnies series using the pseudonym, Sue Denim.

Captain Underpants [edit]

Captain Underpants spin-offs[edit]

Pilkey authored the Super Diaper Baby books and Ook and Gluk under the pseudonyms George Beard and Harold Hutchins.

Dog Man[edit]

  • Dog Man (August 30, 2016)[16]
  • Dog Man: Unleashed (December 27, 2016)
  • Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (August 29, 2017)[17]
  • Dog Man and Cat Kid (December 26, 2017)
  • Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas (August 28, 2018)
  • Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (December 24, 2018)
  • Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls (August 13, 2019)
  • Dog Man: Fetch-22 (December 10, 2019)
  • Dog Man: Grime and Punishment (September 1, 2020)
  • Dog Man: Mothering Heights (March 23, 2021)
  • Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under The Sea (March 28th, 2023)

Cat Kid Comic Club[edit]

  • Cat Kid Comic Club (December 1, 2020)
  • Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives (November 30, 2021)
  • Cat Kid Comic Club: On Purpose (April 12, 2022)
  • Cat Kid Comic Club: Collaborations (November 29, 2022)

It is a spin-off series to Dog Man.

Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot[edit]

Big Dog & Little Dog[edit]

  • Big Dog and Little Dog Getting in Trouble (1997)
  • Big Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters (1998)
  • Big Dog and Little Dog Making a Mistake (1999)
  • The Complete Adventures of Big Dog and Little Dog (1999)

Other books[edit]

  • World War Won (1987)
  • Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays (1988) Illustrator only
  • 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (1990)
  • The Place Nobody Stopped (1991) Illustrator only
  • Julius (1993) Illustrator only
  • Kat Kong (1993)
  • Dogzilla (1993)
  • Dog Breath!: The Horrible Trouble With Hally Tosis (1994)
  • The Moonglow Roll-O-Rama (1995)
  • The Hallo-Wiener (1995)
  • When Cats Dream (1996)
  • God Bless the Gargoyles (1996)
  • The Paperboy (1996)
  • The Silly Gooses (1998)
  • Comics Squad: Recess! (2014) contributor as author/illustrator for this anthology
  • Guys Read: Terrifying Tales (2015) contributor as author/illustrator for this anthology[18]
  • One Today (2015) illustrator only[19]


  • 1986: The National Written and Illustrated by... Awards Contest for Students, ages 14–19 category, World War Won[20]
  • 1997: Caldecott Honor Award, The Paperboy[21]
  • 1998: California Young Reader Medal, Dog Breath!: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis, published in 1994
  • 2007: Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Awards, The Captain Underpants series
  • 2016: Milner Award, The favorite children's book author, http://themilneraward.org/
  • 2019: Person of the Year Award from Publishers Weekly
  • 2019: Comic Industry Person of the Year


  1. ^ Pilkey.com Archived February 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "Dav Pilkey". Ohio Authors Online. Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. 2003. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  3. ^ "5 things you may not know about 'Captain Underpants' author Dav Pilkey". TODAY.com. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Writer Dav Pilkey says having dyslexia was a blessing". The Straits Times. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  5. ^ Nissen, Beth (July 11, 2000). "Captain Underpants: The straight poop on a grossly entertaining series of children's books". CNN. Archived from the original on July 30, 2003. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  6. ^ "Super Humor: Tales of an 'Under' Achiever". Washington Post. July 3, 2002. p. C18. ProQuest 409295767.
  7. ^ "Meet Dav." Dav Pilkey Official Website. April 17, 2003. Retrieved on August 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "The Almost Completely True Adventures of Dav Pilkey." Dav Pilkey Official Website. September 3, 2012. Retrieved on August 14, 2018."The man behind "Captain Underpants"". CBS News. September 17, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2018. Dav dreams up those funny books at the home he shares with his wife, Sayuri, on a picturesque point on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The two have no children of their own.
  9. ^ Publishers Weekly September 9, 2020, "The World of Dav Pilkey: Reigning Dogs and Cats" by Sally Lodge.
  10. ^ "Planet Pilkey" (PDF). www.scholastic.com.
  11. ^ Pilkey, Dav. "Four New Books" (PDF).
  12. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Dav Pilkey Apology". YouTube.
  13. ^ "Captain Underpants: Children's book withdrawn over 'passive racism'". BBC. March 3, 2021. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  14. ^ Morales, Christina (March 28, 2021). "Scholastic Halts Distribution of Book by 'Captain Underpants' Author". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  15. ^ ThunderX19 (January 17, 2013). "Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo-Toilet 2000 Teaser". YouTube. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Schoenberg, Nara (April 16, 2015). "Captain Underpants author Dav Pilkey brings underdog message to Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 23, 2015. Pilkey says he's still doing picture books in that vein, even as he follows George and Harold, authors of the upcoming "Dog Man" on new literary adventures.
  17. ^ Bertini, Cristy (July 28, 2016). "Dav Pilkey's Super Amazing Author Advent-bertini/dav-pilkeys-super-amazing_b_11200852.html". The Huffington Post.
  18. ^ "Guys Read: Terrifying Tales". Harper Collins. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  19. ^ Lodge, Sally (September 19, 2013). "Dav Pilkey to Illustrate Picture Book of Inaugural Poem". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  20. ^ "The National Written & Illustrated by... Awards Contest for Students Winners". Landmark Editions. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  21. ^ Association for Library Service to Children (November 30, 1999). "Caldecott Medal Winners and Honor Books, 1938–Present". American Library Association. Retrieved May 14, 2019.

External links[edit]