Rosemary Wells is one of our best-loved writers and illustrators for very young people. Her “Max and Ruby” books capture the relationship between a bossy big sister and her inquisitive (and stubborn!) little brother. That they happen to look rather a lot like rabbits makes no difference to the stories. Rosemary Wells’ wry humor turns these brief books into rather perfect treasures for the preschool set.
When asked why she makes her characters look like bunnies instead of the children they clearly represent, she explained that the kinds of things that happen to them, were they to happen to children, would not be funny. But by taking the characters a step back from reality, the humor can shine through. Careful observers of her work may note that even the bunnies are a step removed from a usual portrayal. Indeed, their jaunty and clever facial expressions resemble those of the author’s beloved West Highland Terriers, or Westies.
Wells’ characters have been adapted to the oldest stories and the newest mediums. Her illustrations for Iona Opie’s version of the Mother Goose rhymes won critical reviews. Max and Ruby may be found on a long-running television show, and a new bunny character lives in a series of apps, including “Bunny Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” a rendition of the classic song in four languages.
Interestingly, although she has illustrated many books for other writers, Rosemary Wells considers herself to be a more talented writer than an artist. She hones her stories into few words, but they are the perfect words for the telling.
Born: January 29, 1943, in New York, New York.
Favorite childhood books include: Beatrix Potter stories and Mr. Revere and I
Higher Education: Boston Museum School, Boston, MA
Married: Thomas Moore Wells (an architect) in 1963
Children: Victoria and Marguerite
Selected awards: Rosemary Wells has won many, many awards for her work, including the Golden Kite Award for Forest of Dreams, an International Reading Association Children’s Choices citation for Max’s Chocolate Chicken; Edgar Allan Poe Special Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1981, for When No One Was Looking; many of her books have been named among the best books of the year by School Library Journal or received American Library Association Notable Book citations or American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists” citations.
Home: Briarcliff Manor, New York
Contact: Rosemary Wells, c/o Hyperion Editorial Department, 77 W 66th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY, United States 10023-6201.
Read more about the author in these books from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library:
Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art. Pp. 86-89.
Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book, edited by Leonard S. Marcus. Pp. 197-214.
On the Library's Website:
"Rosemary Wells." St. James Guide to Children's Writers. Gale, 1999. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 13 Dec. 2012.
“Rosemary Wells." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Dec. 2012.
Wells, Rosemary. "'The most important twenty minutes of your day.' (campaign to increase interest in reading)." The Horn Book Magazine May-June 1993: 307+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Dec. 2012.
About Rosemary Wells (Penguin.com)
Interview with Rosemary Wells
National Book Festival Audio and Web Casts
Rosemary Wells Collection at the Northport - East Northport Public Library
Welcome to the World of Rosemary Wells