With books inspired by real-life animals and a vivid imagination, author and illustrator Dav (rhymes with "have") Pilkey (1966-), born in Cleveland, Ohio, has written over 30 best-selling books for children.
Pilkey's picture book Dog Breath was inspired by a dog he had as a kid. "Her name was Halle and she had the world's stinkiest breath," he said. "Life without Hally Tosis just wouldn't make any scents."
Extremely hyperactive and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), he was the class clown who daydreamed and spent a lot of time in the principal's office.
And he continues to daydream... now he comes up with his stories that way. "I used to get in trouble for doing that in school, but now it's part of my job," he said.
"Albert Einstein was as terrible in school, but he turned out okay," Pilkey added.
The wildly popular Captain Underpants series is geared for boys 7-12, great for a reluctant reader, but hilarious and clever enough for the entire family to enjoy. Captain Underpants is "faster than a speeding waistband... more powerful than boxer shorts. Able to leap the tallest buildings without getting a wedgie."
Pilkey got the idea for Captain Underpants as a second grader at St. John's Lutheran School in Elyria, Ohio. "My teacher used the word 'underpants' in class one day and everyone started laughing," he explained. "She got mad and told us that underwear was not funny. We all laughed harder... I realized then that the word 'underpants' was a very funny word."
Pilkey said that most of his characters are based on real people. And while cleverly making his readers laugh, he is also encouraging children to keep reading.
Animals...and the power of imagination... are universal.