Books by Rosemary Wells

MAX & RUBY AT THE WARTHOGS' WEDDING by Rosemary Wells
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"The winning illustrations and lighthearted storytelling that made Max and Ruby such a hit are on display; unfortunately, the gimmick distracts from them. (Picture book. 3-5)"
When Max accidentally loses the Warthogs' wedding ring, a treasure hunt ensues, with Ruby leading the way. Read full book review >
YOKO FINDS HER WAY by Rosemary Wells
Released: April 8, 2014

"A terrific book to share with children preparing for their first flights as well as Yoko's fans. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Yoko and her kimono-clad mother have an adventure at the airport at the beginning of their trip to Japan. Read full book review >
STELLA'S STARLINER by Rosemary Wells
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: March 25, 2014

"Fans of Wells' work will likely embrace Stella's story, but some may wish she'd been allowed to confront her problems rather than just running away from them. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Wells' winsome animal characters are charming, as always, but her latest effort lacks coherence and depth. Read full book review >
SOPHIE'S TERRIBLE TWOS by Rosemary Wells
Released: Feb. 25, 2014

"A worthy topic and a capable concept that barely miss the mark. (Picture book. 2-6)"
It's Sophie's birthday, but nothing seems right to this headstrong 2-year-old until Granny saves the day in this rote offering from Wells. Read full book review >
IVY TAKES CARE by Rosemary Wells
Released: Feb. 26, 2013

"Disappointingly bland fare, this might please enthusiastic animal lovers or parents who prefer squeaky-clean stories but will leave most other readers wishing for more. (Historical fiction. 8-10)"
Seemingly plucked from a middle-of-last-century bookshelf, this wholesome tale of a spunky fifth-grade girl's experiences in rural Nevada has a paint-by-numbers feel that keeps it from living up to the author's illustrious reputation. Read full book review >
TIME-OUT FOR SOPHIE by Rosemary Wells
Released: Jan. 24, 2013

"Readers will clamor for more of the irrepressible Sophie, while parents will secretly smile—sheer delight. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Little Sophie gleefully makes mischief until Granny cleverly responds in this soon-to-be favorite about the joys of raising (and being) a toddler. Read full book review >
MAX AND RUBY'S TREASURE HUNT by Rosemary Wells
Released: Oct. 30, 2012

"Perfect for one-to-one sharing or small group participation; one reading will not be enough. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Wells cultivates her taproot into the minds and actions of young kids for an exuberant return adventure for Max and Ruby. Read full book review >
FOLLOWING GRANDFATHER by Rosemary Wells
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"Poignant and sweet. (Animal fantasy. 6-9)"
When her beloved grandfather dies, a grieving little mouse imagines she sees him in their favorite Boston haunts in this gentle story of intergenerational love and loss. Read full book review >
MIRACLE MELTS DOWN by Rosemary Wells
Released: July 1, 2012

"While more didactic, William Mulcahy and Darren McKee's Zach Gets Frustrated (2012) teaches children to deal with their frustrations rather than depend on others to solve difficulties for them. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Harry, star of the first Kindergators book, Hands Off, Harry (2011), relates the school day's dramas to his parents. Read full book review >
YOKO LEARNS TO READ by Rosemary Wells
Released: Feb. 21, 2012

"A perky paean to the joys of literacy, with a bit of library love thrown in for good measure. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Wells' winsome kitten experiences a milestone sure to bring smiles to the faces of teachers and librarians everywhere. Read full book review >
LOVE WAVES by Rosemary Wells
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Nearly too sweet, but reassuring and affecting nonetheless. (Picture book. 2-6)"
How does love keep us connected? Read full book review >
HANDS OFF, HARRY! by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2011

"While Wells tidies everything up a bit more neatly than real-life Miss Harmonys are likely to manage, there are some valuable lessons in problem solving and expressing oneself, for both children and educators. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A reptilian kindergartner who can't keep his hands to himself is the focus of this kickoff to a new series from Wells. Read full book review >
HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, AND TOES by Rosemary Wells
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: April 8, 2011

"Appropriately for the audience, there's no story line or dazzling special effects—just a creatively imagined encounter with a song that has universal toddler appeal. More, please! (iPad storybook app. 1-3)"
This toddler app revolves around the children's song of the same name, the first in a planned suite by the illustrator of the now-classic My Very First Mother Goose. Read full book review >
ON THE BLUE COMET by Rosemary Wells
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 28, 2010

"Ibatouilline's full-color, atmospheric Norman Rockwell-like vignettes enhance the nostalgic feel of this warm, cleverly crafted adventure. (Historical fiction/time travel. 11 & up)"
Time travel hurts. Read full book review >
MAX & RUBY'S BEDTIME BOOK by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 21, 2010

"Fun as the stories may be, they miss the inspired twists that make Max such an artful dodger. (Picture book. 3-5)"
This short-story collection from the steady hand of Wells displays the mischievous sweetness of the Max and Ruby stories with their candy-heart coloring, but each could have used a few more pages to bring the stories fully around. Read full book review >
MY HAVANA by Rosemary Wells
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

"An author's note reveals how Wells came to know of and be inspired by Fernandez's story. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Mirroring the career he eventually entered, architect Fernandez builds up, like one of Havana's ornate structures, memories of childhood in his pre- and post-Castro hometown. Read full book review >
YOKO’S SHOW-AND-TELL by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: July 27, 2010

"The end pages contain descriptions of both Girls' Day and Boys' Day traditions. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A kimono-clad doll named Miki is sent to Yoko by her grandmother in honor of the Japanese holiday, Girls' Day. Read full book review >
LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS by Rosemary Wells
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"In a year crammed with Lincoln-themed offerings, this one stands as a solid but not necessary purchase. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
A series of three chapter-long snapshots gives readers glimpses of Lincoln the man as seen through the eyes of his two younger sons, Willie and Tad. Read full book review >
YOKO WRITES HER NAME by Rosemary Wells
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: July 29, 2008

"As always, believable characters, familiar struggles and warmth fill Wells's work, which teaches a subtle lesson on acceptance and maturity with great clarity. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Wells's familiar kitten Yoko is in kindergarten, and she's just learned how to write her name in Japanese. Read full book review >
OTTO RUNS FOR PRESIDENT by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2008

"Place this timely outing next to Mark Teague's LaRue For Mayor (2008) and Doreen Cronin's arch Duck For President (2004), illustrated by Betsy Lewin. (Picture book. 6-9)"
A dark-horse candidate faces two big political machines in this election campaign at the all-canine Barkadelphia School. Read full book review >
MAX’S BUNNY BUSINESS by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2008

"In a story full of sweet eats—not to mention candy-colored artwork—he supplies the palate cleanser of comeuppance. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Wells's Max and Ruby have been mainstays on the young-young reader/listener scene for many years now. Read full book review >
MOTHER GOOSE’S LITTLE TREASURES by Iona Opie
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"The pictures may suggest scenarios for some of the more abstract lines here, but young goslings will still benefit most not by trying to make sense of the gnomic verses, but just listening to the rhythms of sound and language in them. (Poetry. 4-7)"
"When the rain raineth / And the goose winketh, / Little knows the gosling / What the goose thinketh." Read full book review >
RED MOON AT SHARPSBURG by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2007

"A grand historical novel of exceptional scale and depth. (author's note) (Fiction. 12+)"
Three promises precede the birth of India Moody in 1848, and everything that follows in India's wartime experience comes from those promises—two kept, one broken. Read full book review >
THE GULPS by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2007

"Well-intentioned but decidedly substandard. (Picture book. 3-6)"
It's unfortunate that this disappointingly didactic and extremely insensitive tale of a fat family that finds fitness on the farm is guaranteed a place in most libraries. Read full book review >
MAX COUNTS HIS CHICKENS by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Wells's artwork creates a warm, comfortable atmosphere in which counting to ten is a simple pleasure, and where a Lord of Misrule can turn learning into high mischief. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Some rabbits are born to successfully hunt Easter candy. Read full book review >
MAX’S ABC by Rosemary Wells
ABC BOOKS
Released: May 1, 2006

"Some of the text is a bit strained to fit the alphabet concept, but it's overshadowed by Max and Ruby's antics and Wells's expressive illustrations that perfectly capture their realistic sibling relationship. (Picture book. 2-4)"
In a lighthearted romp through the alphabet, Wells's endearing rabbit siblings Max and Ruby are back. Read full book review >
THE MIRACULOUS TALE OF THE TWO MARIES by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2006

Wells spins out an original tale loosely based on local legends from a small town in southern France. Read full book review >
CARRY ME! by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

"Wells's latest should be required reading for all new parents—such a simple and inexpensive recipe to create a happy child. (Picture book. 0-4)"
Three beautiful poems perfectly capture the essence of a curious toddler and his desire to know about the world and share it with those he loves best. Read full book review >
I LOVE YOU! A BUSHEL AND A PECK by Frank Loesser
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Dec. 1, 2004

"Backmatter includes the actual words and music for adventuresome presenters. (Picture book. 2-7)"
A duckling farmer tries to let his lady love know how he feels about her as they work the farm. Read full book review >
MY KINDERGARTEN by Rosemary Wells
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: July 1, 2004

"She also shows great empathy toward the emotional lives of young children and respect for the transformative power of parents, teachers, and communities. (Picture book. 4-6)"
Emily the gray bunny, star of Emily's First 100 Days of School (2000), returns as the main character of this month-by-month look at the kindergarten school year. Read full book review >
THE SMALL WORLD OF BINKY BRAVERMAN by Rosemary Wells
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Wells leaves big narrative gaps that give the tale a herky-jerky pacing, but readers will get the gist, and may regard the labels around them with new eyes. (Picture book. 7-9)"
A country boy forced to stay with smothering city relatives finds some surprising allies in this imaginative, if sketchy, reminiscence. Read full book review >
FELIX AND THE WORRIER by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Not one of Wells's best, but sure to satisfy Felix fans. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Trying to sleep, Felix is awakened night after night by the Worrier, who comes to nag him. Read full book review >
GETTING TO KNOW YOU! by Richard Rodgers
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"The songbook in the back pocket and serious flaws make this a questionable purchase for libraries. (Nonfiction. 4-8)"
Wells has illustrated excerpts from well-known songs from Oklahoma, The King and I, Carousel, and South Pacific. Read full book review >
RUBY’S BEAUTY SHOP by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"Fans will not be disappointed since Max definitely lives up to his reputation in this farcical tale of Beauty and the Prankster. (Picture book. 3-8)"
A day of beautification goes awry when Wells's (Timothy's Tales from Hilltop School, p. 890, etc.) mischievous Max joins in on the fun. Read full book review >
TIMOTHY’S TALES FROM HILLTOP SCHOOL by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2002

"Be prepared to laugh out loud. (Fiction. 5-8)"
Timothy and his classmates are back in this follow-up to Timothy Goes to School (2001) and they are as heartwarming and true-to-life as ever. Read full book review >
BUNNY PARTY by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"A party not to be missed. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Wells (McDuff Goes to School, below, etc.) must have a secret key not only to the heart of toddlerhood but to the very core of sibling relationships, as she proves once again in her latest Ruby and Max adventure. Read full book review >
YOKO’S PAPER CRANES by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Still, Yoko's fans will be pleased to see a new story, and may be so dazzled by the illustrations that they will not notice the weaknesses. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Origami cranes take metaphoric flight from West to East in this tale of Yoko the kitten's earnest efforts to maintain a connection to her grandparents in Japan. Read full book review >
MCDUFF GOES TO SCHOOL by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Ouf! (Picture book. 3-6)"
A doggy celebration of bilingualism starring everybody's favorite Westie. Read full book review >
MCDUFF SAVES THE DAY by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2001

"This story could serve as preparation for Fourth of July fireworks celebrations or as a summertime treat to tuck into an old-fashioned wicker picnic basket. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Mischievous and much-loved McDuff, the West Highland white terrier, returns for a seventh adventure in this successful series from old pros (and Westie owners) Wells and Jeffers (McDuff Goes to School, 2001, etc.). Read full book review >
FELIX FEELS BETTER by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2001

"Felix's story not only provides some subtle lessons in good health habits and coping with mild illness, but also confirms the reassuring results of a mother's tender loving care. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Toddlers and their parents love the humor of Wells's bestselling Max and Ruby board books and the bright, believable animal characters in her illustrations for Opie's quintessential Mother Goose collections (My Very First Mother Goose, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
WINGWALKER by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2001

"A small disappointment is the final painting, to which readers will turn eagerly, and which depicts the father, not in his trademark 'best black suit,' but in far less dapper attire. (Fiction. 6-10)"
This big-hearted, Depression-era, American fairy tale seems to come alive out of a former generation like a well-worn family yarn. Read full book review >
A HOUSE IN THE MAIL by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2001

"For a sense of period, you could hardly do better than these evocative illustrations. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Andreasen (Tattered Sails, 2001, etc.) has chosen to frame this tale about a pre-Depression Kentucky family getting a new mail-order house as a scrapbook, with 11-year-old Emily's narrative running alongside arrays of drawings, advertisements, diagrams, antique-looking photos, small keepsakes, and other memorabilia, all rendered with photorealistic precision. Read full book review >
MAX CLEANS UP by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Still, it's a good try, as droll as ever, and sure to draw plenty of giggles from the burgeoning Max and Ruby fan club. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Corduroy's pocket has nothing on Max's. Read full book review >
EMILY’S FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2000

"Delicious! (Picture book. 6-8)"
Wells (Yoko, 1998, etc.) makes numbers fun and relevant to daily life in this longer than usual picture book. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"Soft pastel illustrations in a style that recalls Degas are a luminous, often astonishing addition to this moving and joyful introductory biography; balletomanes will hope that a continuation of Tallchief's history is in the works. (Picture book. 7-10)"
"I was born with music that flowed through my body as naturally as blood in my veins," explains Tallchief, who, with Wells, describes her early life in lyrical and compelling prose. Read full book review >
MCDUFF'S NEW FRIEND by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

"The illustrations, with their 1950s sensibility, are warm and eye-catching, right down to a molded Jell-o salad Lucy has prepared; that kind of realistic touch doesn't fit with the image of a full-blown Santa, right there in the kitchen. (Picture book. 4-9)"
Out trots McDuff (McDuff Moves In, 1997, etc.), this time to wait for Santa on Christmas Eve, in a story that subverts the cozy domesticity that has been a series hallmark in the name of a less-interesting fantasy. Read full book review >
YOKO by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

"The lesson might have been labored; instead, Wells offers some trusty guidance and a light touch, and leaves the conclusions to readers. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The first graders in Mrs. Jenkins's room are quick to criticize the sushi, seaweed, and red bean ice cream that fill Yoko's willow-covered cooler. Read full book review >
THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE by Rosemary Wells
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: July 1, 1998

"Come story hour, listeners will be cheering. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)"
Just as James Marshall could make the oldest of the stories new again, Wells (Bunny Money, 1997, etc.) takes this well-worn nugget and makes it shine. Read full book review >
BUNNY MONEY by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"Either way, the book is a great adjunct to primary-grade math lessons. (Picture book. 4-7)"
In the siblings' latest adventure, their grandmother is having a birthday (again! see Bunny Cakes, p. 67), so Ruby takes Max shopping. Read full book review >
MCDUFF MOVES IN by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1997

"In atmosphere and outlook, this book—the first in a series—is a kindred spirit of Marjorie Flack's Angus stories from the 1940s. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A little white dog that nobody wants tumbles off the dogcatcher's truck and into the home of Lucy and Fred in a story from Wells (Bunny Cakes, p. 67, etc.) that recalls a time when compassion wasn't in such short supply. Read full book review >
BUNNY CAKES by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1997

The famous Max and his sister, Ruby, are the stars of this self-proclaimed brand-name production—A Max & Ruby Picture Book- -but there is no formula here—only extreme originality. Read full book review >
THE LANGUAGE OF DOVES by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"The best: In his youth, the grandfather would scour the woods for parasols and morelli, then launch his dove to send word of his finds to the cook at the orphanage. (Picture book. 5-8)"
This story starts on a Brooklyn rooftop. Read full book review >
MY VERY FIRST MOTHER GOOSE by Iona Opie
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"There's little point in pretending that even prodigious collections of nursery rhymes can do without this one—it's a must. (index) (Poetry. 2-8)"
My Very First Mother Goose ($19.99; Sept. 1996; 108 pp.; 1-56402- 620-5): One glimpse of the merry Wells (The Language of Doves, p. 1159, etc.) characters that caper through these pages—a cast of hundreds—one flip through the pages where Opie (I Saw Esau, 1992, etc.) has arranged almost 70 familiar and not-so-familiar rhymes to an effect of unabashed glee, and readers will be in love again with the original Mother Goose. Read full book review >
EDWARD IN DEEP WATER by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"It's a worthy thought, although, unlike Wells's Bunny Planet series (Voyage to the Bunny Planet, 1992, etc.), the plots are rudimentary and interchangeable. (Picture book. 2-4)"
One of three variations on a theme, aimed directly at impatient parents. Read full book review >
LASSIE COME-HOME by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"A timeless tale, handsomely turned out and made available at last, in its essentials, to younger readers. (Picture book 7-9)"
Eric Knights 1940 classic started out a short story; here Wells and Jeffers (Waiting For The Evening Star, 1993) bring it back to that length, enhanced with solemn, elegant artwork. Read full book review >
MAX AND RUBY'S MIDAS by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1995

"It may not carry the serious message about greed that is the heart of the original, but it's an enjoyable spoof. (Picture book. 4-8)"
In a companion to Max and Ruby's First Greek Myth: Pandora's Box (1993), Wells adapts the Greek legend of King Midas to an amusing story-within-a-story. Read full book review >
NIGHT SOUNDS, MORNING COLORS by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"It is a mystery why the schlock was allowed to mingle with all the good stuff this book has to offer. (Fiction/Picture book. 2-6)"
Wells (Lucy Comes to Stay, p. 853, etc.) and McPhail combine on four evocations—waking, night, in the kitchen, a winter walk- -each of which is sometimes startlingly bang-on and, at other times, reaches way too far. Read full book review >
LUCY COMES TO STAY by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 1994

"A natural for sharing aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Lucy, a tiny Scottish terrier, is adorable, but she has a lot to learn. Read full book review >
WAITING FOR THE EVENING STAR by Rosemary Wells
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

With a well-honed narrative and expansive, beautifully detailed illustrations in Jeffers's signature crosshatch and watercolor, an evocation of Vermont country life pre-WW I. Berty watches the men cut ice to ship to Boston; shares syrup on snow; helps Grandmother start seeds indoors in early spring (transplanted carrots and peas in a book listing two farm museums as resources stretches credibility, but never mind); and listens to older brother Luke's dreams of the larger world as trains steam by. Read full book review >
MAX AND RUBY'S FIRST GREEK MYTH by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A novel, entertaining introduction to the myth; better yet, another delightful episode in the saga of this irrepressible bunny. (Picture book. 4-8)"
When Ruby catches Max touching her jewelry box despite her sign (``No! Read full book review >
VOYAGE TO THE BUNNY PLANET by Rosemary Wells
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"89 each. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A boxed set of three miniature books add up to more than the sum of their parts. Read full book review >
FRITZ AND THE MESS FAIRY by Rosemary Wells
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

The strange bedfellows that occur in creative disorder are always good for a laugh; Wells makes the device even funnier here by compounding it. Read full book review >
MAX'S DRAGON SHIRT by Rosemary Wells
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1991

"Totally satisfying. (Picture book. 3-8)"
MAX'S CHOCOLATE CHICKEN by Rosemary Wells
Released: March 1, 1989

Max is back, as irresistibly nonconformist as ever. Read full book review >
NOISY NORA by Rosemary Wells
Released: April 30, 1973

"And flew it down the stairs'—and the more reassuring when she is searched for in panic and welcomed back with joy after she finally runs away."
Compared to Jane Breskin Zalben's icky pink siblings in Cecilia's Older Brother (1973), Nora and her family are both more essentially mouselike and more recognizably human. Read full book review >