Rosemary Wells signs a book for Amelia Campbell-Mills at the Oddfellows Gallery Saturday evening.
Oddfellows Gallery was abuzz with excitement as fans gathered to meet and have their books signed by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Rosemary Wells on Saturday, Feb. 7.
The book signing marked the opening of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection exhibit featuring approximately 60 of Wells’ watercolor and mixed media illustrations.
Wells decided to feature her work in Hattiesburg after meeting Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond collection, while waiting for a taxi in New York. Ruffin asked if Wells had plans for some of her work. Wells said she looked at Ruffin and said, “No, do you want some?”
“It is a huge success for us having her here,” Ruffin said. “She has been so generous.”
Wells published her first book in 1968 and has created 120 books over 40 years. She is the creative mind behind Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora and Yoko.
She said the idea for Max and Ruby came from her children.
“There I was upstairs, writing down every word they said,” Wells said. “That is why there aren’t any parents in it.”
She is donating artwork, sketches and dummies – original, handmade markups of some of books.
The exhibit – Wells’ first one-woman show – attracted locals of all ages, including long-time fans and those just discovering her work.
Allison Campbell and her two-year-old daughter Amelia first read and watched the television adaptation of “Voyage to the Bunny Planet” before attending the exhibit.
“We don’t own a television, so (Amelia) coming here to Hattiesburg is her experiencing (Wells’ work) for the first time,” Campbell said. “She said ‘Voyage to the Bunny Planet’ is her new favorite book.”