This summer, Elmer’s Big Parade has come to Plymouth! A herd of 65 beautifully decorated Elmer elephants are waiting to be discovered in and around the city, from the waterfront, to the city centre and even further afield in Mount Edgcumbe.

Here are ten fascinating facts about Elmer and his creator, beloved picture book author and illustrator, David McKee…

1. David McKee was born in Tavistock, near Plymouth, into a family of storytellers. His mother loved telling bedtime stories and when his father returned home during the war, he would recount his experiences in the form of stories.

2. Elmer was first published by Andersen Press in 1989, so he celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this year!

3. Over 10 million copies of the Elmer books have sold worldwide.

4. To date Elmer has been translated into 50 languages, including Curacaon Papiamento, Aruban Papiamento, Luxembourgish and Azerbaijani.

5. There are now 26 original Elmer stories, all written and illustrated by David McKee, which tackle topical issues like immigration and conservation.

6. David’s style has been influenced by many great artists including Paul Klee, the Fauvists and Brueghel.

7. David McKee was co-founder of King Rollo Films, the BAFTA award-winning production company behind animated children’s classics Mr Benn, Spot the Dog and Maisy.

8. Elmer has been published in over 10 different formats, including board books, pop-up books and an interactive sound book.

9. Elmer is so popular with all ages in Japan that a successful clothing range for adults has launched there.

10. Elmer has popped up in some surprising places on TV including an episode of QI alongside Stephen Fry, Gavin and Stacey, and more recently in an episode of Rev.

Take part in Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth by downloading the app on Apple or Android, or by picking up a paper trail map from the Tourist Information Centre on the Barbican or any of the St Luke’s charity shops.

Meet "As if by Magic" by Mik Richardson, kindly sponsored by Ele-Friends. They are a group of small local businesses who got together to support @stlukesplymouth on their mammoth fundraising adventure. You can find our more about them on our website, Sponsors page. There's a sweet 🍫 reward on the app for unlocking this one! #ElmerPlymouth has been brought to the city by @stlukesplymouth in partnership with @wildinart and @andersenpress to get families out and about making precious memories. Together, we are raising awareness and much needed funds for St Luke's, to help them continue provide outstanding care to patients and families in Plymouth and beyond. Presenting Partner @stagecoach_bus. Media Partner @plymouth.live #Elmer #Plymouth #Devon #britainsoceancity #elmerthepatchworkelephant #elmersbigparade #art #sculpture #publicart

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Make sure you snap a selfie with all the Elmers you meet, and share them with us over on the Visit Plymouth Instagram too, by tagging @VisitPlymouth and #VisitPlymouth.


In partnership with GWR, Destination Plymouth’s lead travel partner 

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