Big-top Benn by David McKee


Big-top Benn by David McKee

Mr Benn is Back! First published forty years ago, 'Big Top Benn' is one of a series of adventures by author and illustrator David McKee that inspired the legendary TV series that made Mr Benn part of the folk memory of the nation. Mr Benn is an ordinary man who has extraordinary adventures. In this entrancing story he swaps his bowler hat and black suit for an extravagant clown costume and finds himself transported into a world of big-top tents and circus performers. Through the inimitable charm and unique style of David McKee's original artwork this enchanting book brings to a new generation the glories of a golden age of children's book illustration and story telling. Big-Top Benn, along with Counting Birds and Noisy Neighbours, are our first books on a newly dedicated paperback list for children's picture books. Produced with the same care and attention to detail as all of our books for children, we hope this series will make the innovative and creative artwork, for which Tate Publishing has become so well known, accessible to even wider audiences.

About the Author

David McKee

David McKee's first book w as published in 1964. His books are now published in many languages throughout the world, and several of them have been adapted for television. He is one of the leading contemporary children's book creators.

David McKee was born and brought up in South Devon, where he went from grammar school to Plymouth Art College. Whilst still at college he started selling one-off cartoons to new spapers and on graduation, he began to contribute to such publications as Punch, Times Education Supplement and the Reader's Digest.

His first book, Two Can Toucan was published in 1964 and since then he has written and illustrated numerous children's books. His books include the popular best-selling Elmer series, Not Now Bernard and King Rollo. David also illustrates for a number of other writers including Michael Bond's Paddington Bear.

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors David McKee is one of the best known illustrators of picture books, having created acknowledged modern classics such as Not Now, Bernard, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, and Mr Benn, Gladiator. His books are published in many languages throughout the world, and many of them have been adapted for television. He was born in Devon and now divides his time between the South of France and London.

Have you seen Elmer’s Photo Patchwork, an innovative activity-based app that encourages creativity and fun? Elmer the Patchwork Elephant is an elephant who stands out from the herd, and Elmer’s app is different too. It doesn’t keep children glued to the screen, it makes them look up, look around and get inspired by the world. The only limit is their imagination. By using an iPad or iPhone’s camera to take photos of interesting colours and textures, kids can add them to an elephant’s patchwork pattern. Aimed at children aged 3+. Elmer’s Photo Patchwork app is available for £1.99 from the App Store for iPad and iPhone. Find out more at and view the app preview video here.

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Book Info


48 pages


David McKee
More books by David McKee

Author's Website


Publication date

6th March 2014



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