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Rosemary Wells (born January 29, 1943) is an American writer and illustrator of children's books. She is well known for the Max and Ruby series, which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies, curious three-year-old Max and bossy seven-year-old Ruby. Wells has also written Noisy Nora (1973), Yoko (1998), Voyage to the Bunny Planet series, a Christmas book called Morris's Disappearing Bag (1975) and a collected book of illustrations of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. She has also published Red Moon at Sharpsburg (2007), a historical novel featuring a young girl in the American Civil War. Otto Runs For President and Yoko Writes Her Name were published in 2008.
Wells was born in New York City and raised in Red Bank, New Jersey. She married architect Thomas Moore Wells in 1963 and attended the Boston Museum School. In 2001 Wells won the Caldecott Honor Book Goodnight Max
A common theme in Rosemary Wells' stories is the use of animal characters rather than humans. In the children's journal Stone Soup, Wells has stated that she writes using animals because it allows her to address sophisticated, controversial topics in way children can understand and adults can accept. For example, Yoko tackles the thorny topics of racism. It is about a young Japanese kitten who is ostracized when she brings sushi in her school lunch. At the book's conclusion, she gains acceptance by hosting a school luncheon where everyone brings food native to their family. Many of the animal characters, such as those in Max and Ruby, interact with one another much as humans would, while others such as McDuff – a West Highland Terrier – take on a more realistic role as the adopted pet of a young couple.
Like her writing, Wells' illustrations have grown more complex and sophisticated over the years. Her early works like Noisy Nora and her illustration of the book "Impossible, Possum" are expressive, but do not have much shading and are simpler inked-in drawings. In comparison, Yoko and the later Max and Ruby books are full of color and detail, with fully realized backgrounds and landscapes.
- Fog Comes on Little Pig Feet (1972)
- Following Grandfather
- Help Children Cope with Divorce
- Help Children Cope with Grief
- House in the Mail
- Lincoln and His Boys
- Mary on Horseback
- My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood, written with Secundino Fernandez, illustrated by Peter Ferguson
- On the Blue Comet, illus. Bagram Ibatoulline
- Red Moon at Sharpsburg
- Streets of Gold
- Through the Hidden Door
- Leave Well Enough Alone
- The Man in the Woods
- When No One Was Looking
- Official website
- 2010 National Book Festival Address on YouTube
- Rosemary Wells at Library of Congress Authorities, with 220 catalog records