Rosemary Wells: A Tiny Vacation of Privacy and Intense Love

“In the pages of the book you will find a tiny vacation of privacy and intense love.”

~ Rosemary Wells

cover of Voyage to the Bunny PlanetOne of the pleasures of being a parent that sneaks up on us in the most delightful way is not only sharing favorite books and authors with our children, but also discovering new voices and stories we otherwise may have never found.

For me, one of those voices is that of Rosemary Wells. I still remember the day when our children’s librarian recommended her books. Throughout his childhood, both our son and I enjoyed the emotional depth of her characters, the warmth of her illustrations, and the beautiful simplicity of her stories. Of her extensive list of works, my favorites remain Shy Charles and her Voyage to the Bunny Planet Trilogy, both of which are subtly empowering stories for emotionally intense young children, encouraging them to stay true to who they are and to use their imaginations to travel to “the day that should have been.”

“The characters in a children’s book must reach into the heart of the reader on page one. Emotional content is the main reason a child and a parent will go back to a book again and again.” ~ Rosemary Wells

In a Horn Book radio interview, she explained the importance of story:

“The story comes first, the pictures come second, and there’s a trend now in children’s books to to make it so that the story is a vehicle for pictures. This is a very bad idea, because children want the story. Remember, children — young children are listening most of the time. If you can go back to the finest children’s books in the past thirty or forty years you will find that the classics that stand up are always books where the story is wonderful.”

A free teacher’s guide for Lincoln and His Boys and video interview clips are available on her website.

“Going to work and having it be such endless challenge and satisfaction is the greatest gift of my life.” ~ Rosemary Wells

3 thoughts on “Rosemary Wells: A Tiny Vacation of Privacy and Intense Love

  1. We still have our boxed set of “Bunny Planet” books, which I bought on your recommendation long ago. Even now we occasionally pull it out to revisit. “Far beyond the moon and stars/Twenty light years south of Mars . . .”

    I think those little books are pure genius: beginning with the “bad day” setup, through the familiar transition from frazzled reality to gentle fantasy (“Felix needs a visit to the Bunny Planet. Welcome, Felix, come on in. Here’s the day that should have been.”), and then on to those charming illustrations and Rosemary Well’s soothing rhymes.

    My daughters and I all have our individual favorites: “Moss Pillows” for my older daughter, “First Tomato” for the younger, and “The Island Light” for me. Makes it handy for sharing, and probably reveals something about who we each are that we’ve responded so strongly to such different idealized “realities.”

    Thanks for reminding us of these calming oases of security amid the stresses of daily life!

    • Katie, I don’t even remember recommending these books to you (ah, my brain these days), but I’m so glad I did! I love how you each have your favorite story.

      We all need a trip to the Bunny Planet once in awhile. 🙂

  2. Thanks for this recommendation. I’m always on the look-out for books to have at my house for when my five-year-old granddaughter visits. She has an incredible imagination, and I think this author’s stories will be a great addition to the small library I keep for her, on the bottom shelf of my very full bookcase!

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