Rosemary Wells has a keen understanding of what matters to young children. The author and illustrator of more than sixty books, she has created unforgettable characters such as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. Her appealing stories capture the emotional charge of a child’s world.
In an exclusive interview, Ms. Wells talked about her work. "Children’s literature, if it is successful, must appeal to the heart of the child," she said from her studio. "Then that child will grab hold of it and say, ‘Ma! I want it again.’ This is the one form of literature that takes 500 readings aloud without flinching. And that’s a lot of use!"
Rosemary Wells grew up on the Jersey Shore in a family of artists. Her mother, a dancer in the
Russian Ballet, and her father, a playwright and actor, "flooded me with books and stories," she remembered. Her
artistic talent was apparent from an early age:
"When I was two years old, I began to draw and they saw right away the
career that lay ahead of me and encouraged me every day of my life," she said.
Most of the books she has created for children over the past thirty years feature drawings of animals. "I draw animals more easily and amusingly than I do children," she explained. "They also can do things in pictures that children cannot. They can be slapstick and still real, rough and still funny, maudlin and still touching."
Her light touch with stories means that children are not the only ones who laugh. She explained that as a writer and illustrator, she wants to "appeal enough to the sense of humor in the mother and father or teacher or older brother or grandmother who is reading so the child will feel the laughter and the enjoyment in the reader’s voice and want the book again and again and again."
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