Join us to celebrate the colourful and feel-good world of illustrator David McKee.

This exciting exhibition from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, takes you on a journey into the imagination of the creator of classic books and characters including Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Mr Benn and Not Now, Bernard. McKee has been awarded Illustrator of the Year 2020 and was recipient of the Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award. Elmer, one of the most widely-read books of all time, is about celebrating our own true colours. The exhibition includes special reading spaces to pour over these favourite stories, as well as the opportunity to explore Elmer’s jungle and, as if by magic, to enter Mr Benn’s costume shop. Or simply immerse yourself in the visual feast of original illustrations, many on display for the first time.

Free entry

Why not try our Elmer inspired activites using the worksheets below.


Paper plate elephant

Paper Plate Elmer

(PDF, 2.55 MB)

Create and decorate your own Elmer by ripping and sticking colourful paper or simply use colouring pencils.

Download file - Paper Plate Elmer

Loo roll elephant with googly eyes

Trunk the Elephant

(PDF, 1.2 MB)

Make your own ‘Trunk the elephant’ and bring them along to Cooper Gallery for an adventure with Elmer and friends.

Download file - Trunk the Elephant

Cardboard elephant and different coloured bits of paper for a collage

3D Elephant Collage

(PDF, 3.72 MB)

You can use recycled cardboard to make a colourful 3D elephant collage.

Download file - 3D Elephant Collage

Patchwork elmer with googly eyes

Milk Carton Elmer

(PDF, 1.21 MB)

Create your own mini Elmer using a milk carton and tissue paper. Why not save future bottles and create a herd of Elmers!

Download file - Milk Carton Elmer

Biscuits decorated to look like Elmer with icing

Elmer Biscuits

(PDF, 1.85 MB)

Make this simple tasty biscuit using just three main ingredients. Contains milks and gluten. Check individual ingredients and sprinkles for allergens.

Download file - Elmer Biscuits

Grey paint pot with purple paint brush. Somebody has painted the palm of their hand grey

Handprint Elephant

(PDF, 2.09 MB)

Sensory seeking children will love the feel of the paint on their hands. If a child doesn’t like sensory input then simply draw around their hand, cut it out and let them decorate as they like.

Download file - Handprint Elephant

Black and white patchwork elmer

Colour Hunt

(PDF, 4.46 MB)

Explore and find colours that match Elmer’s patchwork pattern. Use the template to help you spot the exact colours and create a mini concertina book.

Download file - Colour Hunt

Jungle Juggle Wiggle Online Dance Workshop

You can also try our Jungle Juggle Wiggle Online Dance Workshop

Lion without a mane

Or our lion without a mane interactive storytelling session!

Shake, Shimmy & Stomp Online Dance Workshops