Rose Fyleman

1877–1957

Rose Fyleman was a prolific English writer whose publications include more than sixty volumes of fiction, poetry, and plays. Fyleman was born in 1877 in Nottingham, England. She attended University College in Nottingham, then undertook training for a career as an opera singer. Fyleman failed to find work in opera, but she nonetheless managed to obtain employment as a singer. In addition, she conducted singing lessons and supplied poems to a periodical intended for women. Fyleman eventually began working as a schoolteacher. In this capacity, however, she found herself unable to readily supply her students with appropriate poems. She therefore began to generate her own poetry for use in her classroom. At the encouragement of a fellow teacher, Fyleman sent her poetry to Punch, which accepted her work for publication. In 1918 she published her first book, The Sunny Book, and in the last years of the decade she produced two more volumes, Fairies and Chimneys and The Fairy Green.

During the 1920s Fyleman published further volumes of verse and fiction set in a fairyland free of gloom and danger. In her writings, as Donald R. Hettinga observed in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Fyleman "avoided the darkness and the evil that many of the Celtic and Germanic fairy stories contain." He added, "Her fairy world is a world in which fairies are visible to children but not to most adults, and in which the fairies seemingly exist for the delight of children." Ann G. Hay, meanwhile, wrote in the St. James Guide to Children's Writers that Fyleman's fairies are "wonderful and understandable."

Fyleman also produced conventional stories for children. In The Adventure Club, for example, she tells of the Hastings, a band of children vacationing in rural England while their father, who had suffered a problematic breakdown, undertakes recovery in Spain. "The adventures are quite lively and still hold the attention of young readers," wrote Hettinga. "but behind all of the adventures is a safety net of 'local people' who . . . can help to save the children from any real mishaps."

In the 1940s and 1950s, while she enjoyed further success with her collections of poetry and fiction about fairies, Fyleman continued to issue a range of works for children. In 1936 she published Billy Monkey: A True Tale of a Capuchin, a relatively lengthy book, numbering over 150 pages, about a pet monkey and his owner. Hettinga noted that the volume includes accounts of the monkey's "humanlike idiosyncrasies—his play with toys and his initial fear of stuffed animals," and he added that "the reader does get a bit of a sense of what a capuchin is like, but not much." Another volume, Adventures of Benghazi, concerns a talking a cat that possesses magical powers—including the ability to change shape, travel through time, and remain impervious to pain—during the full moon. At these times, the cat conducts a girl on various adventures, which range from an undersea encounter with a mermaid to an Arctic meeting with Father Christmas.

Fyleman died in 1957, and by the mid-1960s her books had declined in popularity. "Part of the problem," Hettinga conceded, "may well be that . . . fairy tea parties could not weather the cultural changes that were occurring in Britain and the United States." In 1986, however, Fyleman posthumously received praise with A Fairy Went A-Marketing, which reprints one of her fairy poems from 1918. The new edition, with illustrations by Jamichael Henterly, was appreciated by Kathy Piehl, who described it in School Library Journal as "a book for unhurried gazing and quiet sharing." Another reviewer, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, noted the book's "lilting illustrations," while a critic in Kirkus Reviews praised A Fairy Went A-Marketing as "an exquisitely beautiful book."

Career

Writer. Worked as singer, singing instructor, and schoolteacher.

Bibliography

JUVENILE

  • The Rainbow Cat and Other Stories, illustrations by Thelma Cudlipp Grosvenor, Methuen (London, England), 1922, Doran (New York, NY), 1923.
  • Forty Good-Night Tales, illustrations by Thelma Cudlipp Grosvenor, Methuen (London, England), 1923, Doran (New York, NY), 1924.
  • The Adventure Club, illustrations by A. H. Watson, Methuen (London, England), 1925, Doran (New York, NY), 1926.
  • Letty: A Study of a Child, illustrations by Lisl Hummel, Methuen (London, England), 1926, Doran (New York, NY), 1927.
  • Forty Good-Morning Tales, Methuen (London, England), 1926, Doran (New York, NY), 1929.
  • Twenty Tea-Time Tales, Methuen (London, England), 1929, published as Tea Time Tales, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1930.
  • The Dolls' House, illustrations by Margaret Tempest, Methuen (London, England), 1930, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1931.
  • The Katy Kruse Play Book, illustrations by Katy Kruse, McKay (Philadelphia, PA), 1930.
  • The Strange Adventures of Captain Marwhopple, illustrations by Gertrude Lindsay, Methuen (London, England), 1931, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1932.
  • The Easter Hare, and Other Stories, illustrations by Decie Merwin, Methuen (London, England), 1932.
  • Jeremy Quince, Lord Mayor of London, illustrations by Cecil Leslie, Cape (London, England), 1933.
  • The Princess Dances, illustrations by Cecil Leslie, Dent (London, England), 1933.
  • Timothy's Conjuror, Methuen (London, England), 1942.
  • The Timothy Boy Trust, illustrations by Marjorie Wratten, Methuen (London, England), 1944.
  • Hob and Bob: A Tale of Two Goblins, illustrations by Charles Stewart, Hollis & Carter (London, England), 1944.
  • Adventures with Benghazi, illustrations by Peggy Fortnum, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1946.
  • The Smith Family at the Seaside, Arnold (Leeds, England), 1947.
  • The Smith Family in the Country, Arnold (Leeds, England), 1947.
  • The Smith Family in Town, Arnold (Leeds, England), 1947.
  • Nursery Stories, Evans (London, England), 1949.
  • Lucy the Lamb, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1951.
  • Neddy the Donkey, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1951.
  • The Sparrow and the Goat, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1951.
  • The Starling and the Fox, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1951.
  • White Flower, illustrations by M. E. Stewart, Arnold (Leeds, England), 1953.

POETRY; JUVENILE

  • The Sunny Book, illustrations by Millicent Sowerby, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1918.
  • Fairies and Chimneys, Methuen (London, England), 1918, Doran (New York, NY), 1920.
  • The Fairy Green, Methuen (London, England), 1919, Doran (New York, NY), 1923.
  • The Fairy Flute, Methuen (London, England), 1921, Doran (New York, NY), 1923.
  • A Small Cruse, illustrations by Katy Kruse, Methuen (London, England), 1923.
  • The Rose Fyleman Fairy Book, Doran (New York, NY), 1923.
  • Fairies and Friends, Methuen (London, England), 1925, Doran (New York, NY), 1926.
  • The Rose Fyleman Calendar, illustrations by Lisl Hummel, Methuen (London, England), 1927.
  • (With others) Joy Street Poems, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1927.
  • A Princess Comes to Our Town, illustrations by Gertrude Lindsay, Methuen (London, England), 1927, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1928.
  • (Editor) Round the Mulberry Bush: Being a Book of Stories and Verses for Children, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1928.
  • Old-Fashioned Girls, and Other Poems, illustrations by Ethel Everett, Methuen (London, England), 1928.
  • A Garland of Rose's: Collected Poems of Rose Fyleman, illustrations by René Bull, Methuen (London, England), 1928.
  • Gay Go Up, illustrations by Decie Merwin, Methuen (London, England), 1929, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1930.
  • Fifty-one New Nursery Rhymes, illustrations by Dorothy Burroughes, Methuen (London, England), 1931, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1932.
  • (With Thomas F. Dunhill) The Blue Rhyme Book (text by Fyleman; music by Dunhill), Boosey-Methuen (London, England), 1933.
  • (Editor) Sugar and Spice: A Collection of Nursery Rhymes, New and Old, illustrations by Janet Laura Scott, Whitman (Racine, WI), 1935.
  • (Editor) A'Piping Again, illustrations by Irene Mountfort, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1936, Stokes (New York, NY), 1938.
  • (Editor) Here We Come A'Piping, illustrations by Irene Mountfort, four volumes, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1936-37, one-volume edition, Stokes (New York, NY), 1937.
  • (Editor) Bells Ringing: An Anthology of Verse for Young Children, illustrations by Irene Mountfort, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1938, Stokes (New York, NY), 1939.
  • (Editor) Pipe and Drum: An Anthology of Verse for Young Children, illustrations by Irene Mountfort, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1939, Stokes (New York, NY), 1940.
  • Runabout Rhymes, illustrations by Margaret Tempest, Methuen (London, England), 1941.
  • Number Rhymes, Arnold (Leeds, England), 1946.
  • Rhyme Book for Adam, Methuen (London, England), 1949.
  • (Editor) Over the Tree Tops: Nursery Rhymes from Many Lands, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1949.
  • A Fairy Went A-Marketing, illustrations by Jamichael Henterly, Dutton (New York, NY), 1986.

PLAYS; JUVENILE

  • Eight Little Plays for Children (includes Darby and Joan, The Fairy Riddle, Noughts and Crosses, The Weather Clerk, The Fairy and the Doll, Cabbages and Kings, In Arcady, and Father Christmas), Methuen (London, England), 1924, Doran (New York, NY), 1925.
  • Seven Little Plays for Children (includes The Princess and the Pirate, The Mermaid, Peter Coffin, The Arm-Chair, Mother Goose's Party, The Coming of Father Christmas, and The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker), Methuen (London, England), 1928.
  • Nine New Plays for Children (includes The Whisker, The Moon, Cinderella "At Home," The Sampler, Three Naughty Imps, The Test, Sleeping Beauty, Father Christmas Comes to Supper, and Surprise, the Imp), illustrations by Eleanor L. Halsey, Nelson (New York, NY), 1934.
  • Six Longer Plays for Children (includes Snow-White, Porridge, Pork-Pie Night, The Beat, The Gus-Plug, and The Angry Brownies), illustrations by Eleanor L. Halsey, Nelson (London, England), 1936.
  • The Magic Pencil, and Other Plays from My Tales (includes The Carpet of Truth, Captain Marwhopple, The Rhyming Prince, The Magic Pencil, The Chestnut Man, The Three Princesses, Troodle, and A Legend of St. Nicholas), Methuen (London, England), 1938.
  • The Spanish Cloak, Methuen (London, England), 1939.
  • (Adaptor; with Will Grant) Red-Riding Hood, music by Grant, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1949.

TRANSLATIONS; JUVENILE

  • Karin Michaëlis, Bibi, illustrations by Hedvig Collin, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1933.
  • Karin Michaëlis, Bibi Goes Travelling, illustrations by Hedvig Collin, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1934.
  • Widdy-Widdy-Wurkey: Nursery Rhymes from Many Lands, illustrations by Valerie Carrick, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1934, published as Picture Rhymes from Foreign Lands, Stokes (New York, NY), 1935, published as Nursery Rhymes from Many Lands, Dover (New York, NY), 1971.
  • Karin Michaëlis, Green Island, illustrations by Hedvig Collin, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1936.
  • Lida, Père Castor's Wild Animal Books, eight volumes, illustrations by Rojan, Allen & Unwin, 1937-42.
  • Jan Karafiat, Fireflies, illustrations by Emil Weiss, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1942.
  • Alfred Flueckiger, Tuck: The Story of a Snow Hare, illustrations by Grace Huxtable, Lane (London, England), 1949.
  • Marie-Louise Ventteclaye, Simone and the Lilywhites, Museum Press (London, England), 1949.
  • Lillian Miozzi, The Adventures of Tommy, the Cat Who Went to Sea, illustrations by Charlotte Hough, Lane (London, England), 1950.
  • Lily Martini, Peter and His Friend Toby, illustrations by Wolfgang Felten, Lane (London, England), 1955.

OTHER

  • A Little Christmas Book, illustrations by Lisl Hummel, Methuen (London, England), 1926, Doran (New York, NY), 1927.
  • The Katy Kruse Dolly Book, illustrations by Katy Kruse, Doran (New York, NY), 1927.
  • (Translator) Songs, Curwen (London, England), 1927.
  • The Second Katy Kruse Dolly Book, Harrap (London, England), 1930.
  • Hey! Ding-a-Ding, University of London Press (London, England), 1931.
  • The Rose Fyleman Birthday Book, illustrations by Muriel Dawson and Margaret Tarrant, Medici Society (London, England), 1932.
  • (With Thomas F. Dunhill) Happy Families (opera; produced in 1933), music by Dunhill, Methuen (London, England), 1933.
  • Bears, illustrations by Stuart Tresilian, Nelson (New York, NY), 1935.
  • Monkeys, Nelson (New York, NY), 1936.
  • (With E. M. D. Wilson) Billy Monkey: A True Tale of a Capuchin, illustrations by Cecil Leslie, Nelson (London, England), 1936, Nelson (New York, NY), 1937.
  • A Book of Saints: Joan of Arc to St. Nicholas, illustrations by Gertrude Mittelman, Methuen (London, England), 1939.
  • Folk-Tales from Many Lands, Methuen (London, England), 1939.
  • (Translator) After All (play), Methuen (London, England), 1939.
  • (Editor) Let's Play, Grout (London, England), 1943.
  • (Editor) Punch and Judy, illustrations by Paul Henning, Methuen (London, England), 1944.
  • Daphne and Dick: An Uncle from Canada, illustrations by Jeannetta Vise, Macdonald (London, England), 1952.
  • Daphne and Dick: Round and About, illustrations by Jeannetta Vise, Macdonald (London, England), 1952.

Founding editor, Merry-Go-Round, 1923-24. Contributor to periodicals, including Horn Book and Punch.

Further Reading

BOOKS

  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 160: British Children's Writers, 1914-1960, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
  • St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

PERIODICALS

  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Volume 40, number 3, 1986, review of A Fairy Went A-Marketing, p. 47.
  • Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1986, review of A Fairy Went A-Marketing, p. 1118.
  • School Library Journal, January, 1987, Kathy Piehl, review of A Fairy Went A-Marketing, p. 63; May, 1995.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION England

LIFE SPAN 1877–1957

Biography

Rose Fyleman was a prolific English writer whose publications include more than sixty volumes of fiction, poetry, and plays. Fyleman was born in 1877 in Nottingham, England. She attended University College in Nottingham, then undertook training for a career as an opera singer. Fyleman failed to find work in opera, but she nonetheless managed to obtain employment as a singer. In addition, she conducted singing lessons and . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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