David Murray "Dav" Pilkey, Jr. (also known as Gidget Hamsterbrains) (born March 4, 1966) is a popular American children's author and artist. Pilkey is best known as the author and illustrator of the Captain Underpants book series. He lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington, near Seattle with his wife, Sayuri.
Dav Pilkey was born on March 4, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio to David Pilkey Sr. and Barbara Pembridge Pilkey. He has one older sister named Cindy.
In elementary school in Elyria, Ohio, he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Pilkey was frequently reprimanded for his behavior in class and spent a lot of time sitting at a desk in the school hallway, where he created the character Captain Underpants. Pilkey entered his first book, World War Won, in a national competition for student authors and won in his age category. The award included the book's publishing in 1987.
The odd spelling of his first name came from a period of employment in a Pizza Hut, where the "e" was omitted from his nametag. Even though it is spelled Dav, it is pronounced "Dave" (rhyming with save).
After moving to Washington, he met his sweetheart Sayuri, a professional musician and owner of his favorite Japanese sushi restaurant. Dav and Sayuri later married each other in 2005.
Between 2006 and 2009, Pilkey started an interactive Captain Underpants website. His friend, a sushi chef named Koji Matsumoto, wrote several songs for it. They are also included on the Super Silly CD o' Fun, which comes with the Captain Underpants box set. The website is no longer active, but the songs are still available on YouTube.
Pilkey took a break from writing for a few years to care for his terminally ill father, but, as of March 19th, 2010, has signed a deal with Scholastic to release four new books. The first, a graphic novel, "The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future," was released in August 2010 and made by Carroll O'Connor.
Another book, "Dog Man," was released in 2016. It was the first book in the Dog Man series.
Captain Underpants series
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)
- Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (1999)
- Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) (1999)
- Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (2000)
- Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (2001)
- Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy - Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (2003)
- Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy - Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers (2003)
- Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People (2006)
- Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Re-Turn of Tippy Tinkletrousers (2012)
- Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers (2013)
- Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 (2014)
- Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (2015)
- The Really Cool Adventures Of Captain Underpants (1989)
- The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun (2001)
- The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (2002)
- The All-New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o' Fun 2 (2002)
- The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future (2010)
- Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (2011)
Dog Man series
- Dog Man (2016)
- Dog Man Unleashed (2017)
- Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (2017)
- Dog Man and Cat Kid (2018)
- Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas (2018)
- Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (2018)
- Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls (2019)
- Dog Man: Fetch-22 (2019)
- Dog Man: Grime and Punishment (2020)
- Dog Man: Mothering Heights (2021)
Cat Kid Comic Club
- Cat Kid Comic Club (2020)
- Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives (2021)
- Cat Kid Comic Club: On Purpose (2022)
Ricky Ricotta series
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot (2000)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury (2000)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Voodoo Vultures from Venus (2001)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Mecha Monkeys from Mars (2002)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Jurassic Jackrabbits from Jupiter (2002)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Stupid Stinkbugs from Saturn (2003)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Uranium Unicorns from Uranus (2005)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Astro-Activity Book o' Fun (2006)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Naughty Nightcrawlers from Neptune (2016)
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Unpleasant Penguins from Pluto (2016)
Big Dog & Little Dog series
- Big Dog and Little Dog (1997)
- Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk (1997)
- 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)
- World War Won (1987)
- Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays!: The Children's Anti-Stress Book by Adolph J. Moser, illustrated by Pilkey (1988)
- Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (1990)
- The Place Where Nobody Stopped by Jerry Segal, illustrated by Pilkey (1991)
- When Cats Dream (1991)
- Julius by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Pilkey (1991)
- Dog Breath!: The Horrible Trouble With Hally Tosis (1992)
- The Moonglow Roll-O-Rama (1992)
- The Hallo-Wiener (1993)
- God Bless the Gargoyles (1994)
- The Paperboy (1994)
- The Silly Gooses (1994)
- A Friend for Dragon (1991)
- Dragon Gets By (1991)
- Dragon's Merry Christmas (1991)
- Dragon's Fat Cat (1992)
- Dragon's Halloween (1993)
Creature Feature series
- Dogzilla (1993)
- Kat Kong (1993)
Kat Kong is a spoof of the story of King Kong, incorporating cat and mice characters. The book combines photography with paintings, with the story of revealing how the characters Dr. Varmint and Rosie Rodent capture Kat Kong and bring him back to Mousopolis. Dogzilla is also a spoof of the story Godzilla.
Dumb Bunnies series (as Sue Denim)
- 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 books under the pseudonym Sue Denim. He has stated that the series was influenced by The Stupids.
- 1986: The National Written and Illustrated by Awards Contest for Students, ages 14-19 category, World War Won
- 1997: Caldecott Honor Award, The Paperboy
"Melvin Sneedly, the villain in this book, was actually based on somebody I knew in sixth grade. The kid I knew, Michael Sneedman, wasn’t nearly as evil as Melvin, but he sure was annoying. Michael was smarter than anybody else in the class, and he knew it. Worst of all, he took every opportunity he could find to point that out to us all… and rub our noses in it.
Michael had the infuriating habit of finishing all his tests and worksheets before everybody else. Then he’d open his desk, take out a red pen, and GRADE HIS OWN PAPERS! He’d go through all of his answers, make sure they were all correct, then award himself a giant “A+” at the top. He even went so far as to make smiley faces on his papers and write “Another Fantastic Job!”, or “Keep up the GREAT work, Michael!”
Oooh, that kid was obnoxious. Here’s how I got him back:
After Christmas break, our teacher came up with a dumb idea to help make us all more competitive and aggressive. It was a system of keeping track of our academic achievements and “good deeds”. For two weeks, we all brought in those little, flat plastic clips you find on the ends of loaves of bread (see photo).
When we finally had enough, our teacher took them all home and spray painted them different colors. The next day, he brought in a large wooden board with all of our names printed on it. Directly under each kid’s name was a nail.
The object of this system was that every time you got an “A” or did a “good deed”, you’d get a white bread clip (worth 1 point) to hang on the nail under your name. If you got five white bread clips, you could trade them in for a green bread clip (which was worth five points). Then there were yellow, blue, and red bread clips that were worth 10, 20, 50 points respectively. The granddaddy of all bread clips was the golden bread clip, which was worth 100 points.
On an average day, an average kid could maybe expect to earn three or four white bread clips. I usually got one or two. But Michael Sneedman was obsessed. He wasn’t happy unless he had earned at least 10 white bread clips every day. Some days he earned as much as 15 bread clips, and I distinctly remember him earning 20 one day. It was the talk of the bus ride home." – the first part of Dav Pilkey's interview.
"...After a while, the bread clip board started to become a great source of rivalry in our classroom. Kids were doing good deeds deliberately, just so they could get a new bread clip. They were asking for “extra-credit” homework so they could get even MORE bread clips. Things were getting too aggressive for my tastes, but almost everybody else seemed to enjoy the competition.
We had all sworn to be honest about the whole bread clip board thing, and believe it or not, we were all pretty honest (even me). But I knew there had to be a loophole somewhere. I had sworn to be honest when giving myself bread clips… and I had sworn to be honest about not switching anybody else’s bread clips around… but nobody said anything about not tipping the board over.
So one day during recess, it was too cold to go outside, so we had an “in-the-classroom” recess. Everybody was just hanging around talking and stuff, while I was quietly making my way over to the bread clip board. I scoped out the area very carefully, just to make sure nobody was watching. Then with a flick of my finger, I nudged the bread clip board away from the wall upon which it was leaning. The board began to tip forward. Quickly (but not too quickly) I walked away from the board as it began falling to the floor. I had gotten about two and a half steps away when a giant CRASH! filled the classroom air.
Everything stopped. All the kids turned to see what had happened. I turned, too, looking as surprised as I could. It couldn’t have been more perfect. The bread clip board was face down on the floor. Bread clips were scattered everywhere. What had once been an intricate accounting of our grandiose moral and academic achievements had suddenly been reduced to a board with nails on it, surrounded by a bunch of little colored plastic thingies.
“Oh, NO!” I shouted, “Look what just happened… all by itself… accidentally… with no outside interference from anyone!”
About half of the kids in the class cheered. Some kids seemed annoyed. But Michael was mortified. All his dreams of annihilating his peers had been crushed… all his A’s and “good deeds” were for naught. He dashed over to the board and lifted it up. But alas, every one of the bread clips had fallen off.
“I REMEMBER,” Michael shouted, “I---I had three gold bread clips, two blue ones, and four white ones!” He leaned the board back up against the wall and began frantically replacing his clips. But unfortunately for Michael, nobody else had memorized their exact number of bread clips at that moment. We could only speculate…
“I think I had four gold ones,” I said.
“Me too,” said another kid.
“I had seven!” said somebody else.
“NO YOU DIDN’T!!!” screamed Michael, his eyes welling up with tears. “I WAS THE WINNER!!! I BEAT ALL OF YOU!!! NOBODY EVEN CAME CLOSE TO MY SCORE!!! I HATE YOU ALL!!!”
Over the next few days, Michael tried his best to “right” the terrible wrong which had befallen him. He put himself in charge of redistributing the bread clips, but nobody was happy with his decisions. Soon kids began taking it upon themselves to arrange the bread clips to suit their own likings, and before long, chaos broke out. Kids were arguing and fighting so much that within a week, our teacher took the bread clip board outside and tossed it in the dumpster.
And that was it. It was over. Kids stopped doing good deeds, and gave up on trying to get “A’s”. Everybody calmed down and returned to normal… except for Michael.
Michael was so distraught over the whole incident, that he accidentally missed a mistake while grading one of his own quizzes. He put his usual “A+”, and “100%” on the top of the paper, but when he got it back the next day, the “A+” had been crossed out and changed to an “A”. The “100%” had been crossed out and changed to a “96%”.
Michael had made a mistake. Michael was in shock. Michael--- was devastated.
It was the proudest moment of my life.
I'm not sure what ever became of Michael Sneedman. Perhaps he's still sitting at that very same desk, staring in disbelief at his “A”, and wondering where it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. Thinking back on it, I kinda feel bad that my one small act of defiance sparked such moral and academic anarchy in our classroom. But then I think about that 96%, and I feel it was all worth it!" – the second part of Dav Pilkey's interview