Clemesha, David

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Clemesha, David


Born in Blackburn, England; married Andrea Zimmerman (a writer and illustrator); children: Alex, Christian, Chase. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.; San Diego State University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Movies, tennis, music, going to museums.


Home—San Diego, CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer and illustrator. Former elementary schoolteacher.

Awards, Honors

Blue Ribbon selection, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 1999, One Hundred Picture Books Everyone Should Know citation, New York Public Library, and Notable Books for Children selection, American Library Association, 2000, all for Trashy Town; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, and Best Children's Books designation, Bank Street College of Education, both 2000, both for My Dog Toby; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, 2003, for Digger Man.



Rattle Your Bones: Skeleton Drawing Fun, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1991.

Digger Man, Holt (New York, NY), 2003.

Fire Engine Man, Holt (New York, NY), 2007.


The Cow Buzzed, illustrated by Paul Meisel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Trashy Town, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

My Dog Toby, illustrated by True Kelley, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry!, illustrated by Karen Barbour, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.

Dig!, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Manatee Mom, illustrated by Michael-Che Swisher, Millbrook Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2006.


Trashy Town was adapted for videocassette, Weston Woods, 2001.


With his wife, Andrea Zimmerman, David Clemesha has written and illustrated a number of critically acclaimed picture books for beginning readers. Born in Great Britain, Clemesha moved to the United States with his family when he was sixteen years old, and after graduating from college he taught elementary school. Clemesha and Zimmerman share writing responsibilities on each of their works; for their self-illustrated titles, Clemesha creates pencil drawings that Zimmerman completes with acrylic paints.

Clemesha and Zimmerman's debut work, Rattle Your Bones: Skeleton Drawing Fun, appeared in 1991. The pair later collaborated on The Cow Buzzed, a humorous work about the common cold. When a bee sneezes as it visits a farm, its germs as well as its buzzing sound are transmitted to a cow. The bovine then sneezes and passes along its "moo" to yet another animal, confusing the farmer and creating havoc with the farm's feeding schedule. "Easygoing wit permeates this book, from

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Clemesha's whimsical style to the surprise punchline," remarked a contributor in a Publishers Weekly review of The Cow Buzzed.

In Trashy Town, Clemesha and Zimmerman follow Mr. Gully, a trash collector, as he makes the rounds of the school, the park, and the doctor's office. "This overwhelmingly positive day-in-the-life gives an overdue salute to an unsung hero," a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted, and Nancy Vasilakis commented in Horn Book that the couple's "well-designed picture book does a lot with a simple concept."

A young girl and her basset hound are the focus of My Dog Toby, "an amusing introduction to the trials and rewards of training a pet," wrote Holly Belli in School Library Journal. When the youngster's friends and family doubt Toby's intelligence, the adoring owner becomes determined to prove them wrong. In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan called My Dog Toby "a warm, witty picture book celebrating the mutual devotion of dogs and their owners."

In Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry! Captain Kelly's brigade of firefighting animals must interrupt their spaghetti dinner to douse several blazes. The company, which includes a pink mouse and a green elephant, manages to rescue a flower shop, toy store, pet shop, and bakery before finally sitting down to a meal. Clemesha and Zimmerman "ably stoke children's admiration for firefighters without fanning any fears," observed a contributor to Publishers Weekly, and a critic in Kirkus Reviews described the tale as "a joyful celebration of team work that is sure to please the preschool set."

In Dig! the authors depict the activities of Mr. Rally and his dog, Lightning, as they tackle a number of dirty jobs aboard a huge yellow backhoe. "Sentences jounce along from one construction site to the next," remarked Jess Bruder in the New York Times Book Review, and School Library Journal critic Marian Creamer noted that "the pace, repetition, and word choices make the book appropriate for beginning readers." "Full of action and rhythm, this winning picture book … will delight preschoolers," predicted Gillian Engberg in Booklist.

Clemesha and Zimmerman also collaborate on Digger Man, a self-illustrated work that explores a young boy's dream of becoming a construction worker. "Details are perfect," remarked School Library Journal reviewer Andrea Tarr, and Ellen Mandel, commenting in Booklist, stated that "the joyful acrylic illustrations and the sparse, confident text will delight" young readers. In a companion volume, Fire Engine Man, the youngster imagines the day he and his infant brother will extinguish blazes and prepare meals for their colleagues. According to Booklist reviewer Shelle Rosenfeld, "vibrant, detailed, child-friendly art, along with the boy's simple narration, highlights … a caring sibling relationship."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 1, 1993, Ilene Cooper, review of The Cow Buzzed, p. 1606; August, 1999, Linda Perkins, review of Trashy Town, p. 2067; May 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of My Dog Toby, p. 1666; September 1, 2003, Ellen Mandel, review of Digger Man, p. 132; May 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Dig!, p. 1627; May 1, 2007, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Fire Engine Man, p. 101.

Horn Book, March, 1999, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Trashy Town, p. 204.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1993, review of The Cow Buzzed, p. 730; September 1, 2003, review of Digger Man, p. 1133; April 15, 2007, review of Fire Engine Man.

New York Times Book Review, May 14, 2000, Adam Liptak, "It's a Dog's Life," p. 29; September 19, 2004, Jess Bruder, review of Dig!

Publishers Weekly, May 24, 1993, review of The Cow Buzzed, p. 84; April 26, 1999, review of Trashy Town, p. 82; May 10, 2004, review of Dig!, p. 57; September 15, 2003, review of Digger Man, p. 63.

School Library Journal, May, 1999, Lisa Dennis, review of Trashy Town, p. 102; May, 2000, Holly Belli, review of My Dog Toby, p. 159; April, 2003, Leslie Barban, review of Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry!, p. 144; December, 2003, Andrea Tarr, review of Digger Man, p. 131; July, 2004, Marian Creamer, review of Dig!, p. 90; July, 2007, Linda M. Kenton, review of Fire Engine Man, p. 88.


Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha Home Page, (August 5, 2008).

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