Creator: Rosemary Wells
"Animals can serve as a metaphor and they are easier to write about than human children. For example, with the Yoko series, it might not be considered politically correct for a non-Japanese writer to pen a story about a Japanese character. Since Yoko is a kitten, I can work around this."
—Rosemary Wells, from a Japan Times Interview
Rosemary Wells (1943 -) is a prolific creator of children's picture books and has also written for older audiences. Her two most popular franchises, which have also been adapted for television, are Max and Ruby and Timothy Goes to School. Some other popular titles by her include the Bunny Planet books, the Edward the Unready series (later rereleased as eBooks under the banner "Edward Almost Ready"), the McDuff series and Emily's First 100 Days of Kindergarten. Her nonfiction titles have included Help Children Cope with Divorce and Getting to Know You: Rodgers and Hammerstein Favorites. Some of her works titled at older audiences include Mary on Horseback and The Miraculous Tale of the Two Maries. In all, she has written well over 100 titles. Her most recent series are the Kindergators, about a group of young alligators, and the Sophie books, about a high-spirited two-year-old mouse.Her very first title, published in 1972, was Unfortunately Harriet. It is currently out of print. Her second title, published a year later, was the much more well-known Noisy Nora, which remains in print to this day, with Nora becoming one of the characters on the Timothy Goes to School television series.She is known for the Read to Your Bunny initiative, which, through the book by the same name, and through other media, encourages parents to read to their children for at least 20 minutes a day.She was also involved in the production of the Max & Ruby and Timothy television series. Her official website can be found here.
Tropes often featured in Wells's works include:
- Art Evolution: Her art style for her bunny characters and animals from the 70's - late 90's looked different compared to her newer books.
- Aside Glance: Most of the Max And Ruby books features Max staring at the viewer for some of the covers.
- Timothy does this in the original cover of Timothy Goes To School.
- Yoko can be seen staring at the reader in Yoko, Yoko Learns To Read, Yoko's Show And Tell and Yoko Writes Her Name.
- Author Avatar: Miss Jenkins and Miss Cribbage both represents Wells herself.
- An Aesop: Usually, though not always.
- Animated Adaptation: Those that haven't been made into television series have often been adapted as read aloud storybooks for home video, sometimes with animation.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Most of her furry characters.
- Character Title: The 1998 book Yoko.
- Cute Kitten: Yoko the main protagonist of the Yoko series.
- Carnivore Confusion: The picture book First Tomato from the Bunny Planet series describes a group of bunny-people children being served bologna sandwiches, which greatly depresses the main character, as this is her least favorite lunch. Another character in the same series has to suffer through a dinner of cold liver chili.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original 1979 version of ''Max's First Word'' had Max's overalls colored white and was only 6 pages long.◊ The original 1979 book was very small compared to rest of the series, with the exception of Baby Max And Ruby which also had small sized books.
- Every Episode Ending: Every installment of the Voyage to the Bunny Planet books ends with the star character observing the Bunny Planet in the night sky and marveling "It was there all along!"
- Fantastic Racism: Used in Yoko, in which the titular character, a Japanese kitten, is ostracized for eating sushi at lunch.
- Friend to All Children: Janet The Bunny Queen from Voyage To The Bunny Planet.
- Funny Animal or Talking Animal
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal
- Invisible Parents: Especially in Max and Ruby.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Some of her older books from the 70's and 80's are usually out of print. Some haven't been reprinted for decades.
- Japanese Politeness: Yoko and her mother from the Yoko series.
- Mouse World: Often with rabbits, which can be seen in the "First Tomato" story from the "Bunny Planet" series.
- This is also very common in her illustrations for various Mother Goose books. Such as her character Nora showing up in a couple of her illustrations of a Nursery Rhythm.◊
- Meaningful Name: In the Animated Adaptation of Timothy Goes to School. Nora talks very loud and in one episode Fritz refers to Nora as "Noisy Nora" which is a reference to the original book which Nora debuted.
- Nursery Rhyme: Illustrated a couple Mother Goose books in the 1990's.
- Puppy Love: It's been implied◊ in her books starring Yoko or Timothy that they both have a crush on each other◊. Helps that they are both best friends.
- Rascally Rabbit: Mostly Max from Max and Ruby.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Pleasantly averted in her Kindergators series, which actually features anthropomorphic alligators. Some of the children behave badly at times, but this only because they are young and still learning; none of them are actually truly mean or nasty.
- Reclusive Artist: She has a short biography page on her official website. Not that much is know about her history behind her writing and illustrating career and the origin behind Max and Ruby.
- Spin-Off Babies: She made a few books called Baby Max And Ruby which shows Ruby as a young child and Max as a young baby.
- She Also Did: Worked on some of the Illustrations for some of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.
- Slice of Life
- Science Marches On: In the book "Emily's First 100 Days Of School" which has 100 pages which has events related to the number. Was the 8th page, where Emily and her the other students tell how many planets for the Solar System. Pluto is included in it, this was made years before Pluto was no longer a planet.
- Very Special Episode: Her 1998 book Yoko dealt with racism.
- World of Funny Animals: With the exception for her books geared toward older audiences.
- Sweet Dreams Fuel: All of her books are like this.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In her interview for Japan Times, Wells brought up that the first Yoko book was based on an actual event her daughters told her about a student who got made fun of because of the lunch they have.
- Very Special Episode: Well's wrote a book the 1998 book Yoko which deals with racism. The book is about a young kitten named Yoko who is Japanese. In the book, she's getting ready for her first day at school and everything goes fine. Until lunchtime, when Yoko reveals that she's having sushi for lunch, and every student in the school (except for Timothy) makes fun of her for it. This being a children's book, they all accept her in the end. This made it into an episode of the Timothy Goes to School Animated Adaptation.
- Write Who You Know: Some of her characters are based on real life people she knew or known from her daughters.
- The characters Max and Ruby were based on both of her daughters.
- Charles was based on her best friend from school
- Yoko is based on one of the Japanese students her daughters remember seeing getting teased on.