From The Guardian:
“How do you pronounce your name?
It’s Dave and the reason, I think, people get mixed up is because it’s spelt “Dav”, which is untraditional. I used to work at Pizza Hut – do you have Pizza Huts here in the UK? Well, this was more than 30 years ago and I was a waiter at Pizza Hut. They made a name tag for me and they had a little label-maker so when they were making my name and they punched in D – chickuk – and A – chickuk – and V – chuckuk – but when they got to E – urggh – it didn’t work, so it’s just Dav. I don’t know why that’s stuck but everyone’s started calling me Dav and spelling my name like that but, yeah, it’s been Dav ever since.
What gave you the idea for the first Captain Underpants book?
My second grade teacher in year two (I was about eight) used the word “underwear” one time in class when she was talking to us. She said “underwear” and everyone in the whole class burst out laughing and she got very angry and she was like, “boys and girls, underwear is not funny!” She completely freaked out and we all laughed even harder and I just remember thinking that it’s an amazingly powerful word that can make everyone laugh, I should do something with that. So I took out a pencil and a piece of paper and I drew a superhero in his underwear and I called him Captain Underpants. He’s been with me ever since.
Were you like either George or Harold when you were at school?
Yes – George and Harold are both based on me and I was exactly like them. I had – well, still have – ADHD: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it’s quite common nowadays. It was not as common when I was a child. They didn’t even have a name for it back then but I was diagnosed as extremely hyperactive and I also have dyslexia. So George and Harold are both based on me. They don’t get along very well with at school, their teachers don’t like them very much, their principal hates them and that was basically my childhood so I’m writing about myself. I never hypnotised my principal! That part I made up.
Captain Underpants has lots of clever tools and powers. Which is your favourite?
If I could have one of the superpowers Captain Underpants has then I’d like to fly. I think that’d be pretty cool so I have to go with flying.
Excerpt: “If you could go back in time and tell your teenage self anything, what would you say?
DP: I would probably say to not worry so much, don’t be so stressed out. I was very stressed as a kid. Everyone’s stressed out when they’re young, especially if you grew up with a lot of problems like I did. I had a lot of challenges. I used to think that if I didn’t do well in school I wasn’t going to do well in life, but there are a lot of opportunities out there, especially for creative people. I would just say, “Be yourself, don’t worry so much, everything will work out OK.”
Described by Entertainment Weekly as a “potty humor maestro”, Dav’s books are sometimes a perfect match for certain students:
“I’m really writing to the kid that I used to be. When I was a kid I had a lot of reading problems. Anytime you put a book in front of me it was like punishment. However, I would have liked books about superheroes who battled monsters in their underwear. So I’m really writing to the child I used to be, that kid who didn’t like books.”
Dav shows dyslexic strengths in humor, visual storytelling, vivid personal memory.