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The Firework-maker's Daughter (edition 2004)

by Philip Pullman

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466822,239 (3.37)16
Member:nmhale
Title:The Firework-maker's Daughter
Authors:Philip Pullman
Info:Corgi Yearling Books (2004), Paperback, 119 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Children's Fiction

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The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman

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I liked this one but it was not that clever, if you see what I mean. The descriptions are good but the story is fairytalishly formulaic and it does not manage to go beyond that. ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Pullman is best known for his epic fantasy the Dark Materials trilogy and other young adult novels, but he has also written books that can be read with a younger audience, and I find that I like these stories just as much as his more ambitious works. In this novella, a fireworker maker raises his daughter on his own after his wife passes away. He trains her in his art, and when Lila is older she tells him that she wishes to learn the final secret that will make her a fireworks master. Her father is dismayed, and tells her that no girl should take up that trade, but should marry instead. Lila and her father don't speak of the matter again, but Lila is secretly enraged, and tells her friend, Chulak, that her father is trying to prevent her from achieving her life's dream. Chulak uses his cunning to learn the secret from Lalchand, Lila's father: Lila must travel to Mount Merapi, to the Grotto of Razvani the Fire-Fiend, and exchange the Three Gifts for royal sulphur. Only then can the apprentice become a fireworks master. Chulak imparts this secret wisdom to Lila, not knowing that Lalchand has not told him everything. Lila, determined to become a master whether her father approves or not, sets off on the dangerous journey on her own.

Meanwhile, Lalchand learns from Chulak that Lila has embarked on her mission, and is terrified, because she does not know the preparations she must make in order to escape the flames of Razvani. He and Chulak, along with the white elephant Hamlet who can talk, set off on their own mission, to attain a flask of magic water from the Goddess of the Emerald Lake that will protect Lila from the heat. The two journeys eventually merge, and the whole story ends with a magnificent fireworks contest that will determine the fate of both Lila and her father.

All this action transpires in a mere one hundred pages, just a wisp of a book. Pullman's power as a writer is evident in how he deftly weaves multiple plot lines, builds complex characters who evolve and change, and packs powerful emotions all in a quick and concise tale. I greatly enjoyed this story. It is a fast read and masterfully told. Pick up a copy to see how a talented writer makes children's literature shine. ( )
  nmhale | Apr 27, 2012 |
I really disliked The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman. In fact, I hated it! The book talked about false things and had a bad story overall.I do not recommend this book to any one. It is one of the worst books I have ever read! ( )
  mark_14 | Nov 4, 2011 |
I really enjoyed this book because Lila had a very big adventure,I stated likeing this book when we did it for English comprehension at school. ( )
  cars27 | Jun 12, 2011 |
The Short and Sweet of It
Lila wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps and become a fully fledged firework-maker. Unfortunately, her father has other plans for her, mostly involving becoming someone's wife. Through a bit of trickery, she finds out that to become a true firework-maker she must travel to Mount Merapi and face down the Fire-Fiend for some Royal Sulphur. She runs away to fulfill her destiny, but what she doesn't know about the trip could end her.

A Bit of a Ramble
The Firework-Maker's Daughter struck me as a funny, cute story about the power of friendship and the importance of individual choice. Lila's success - her very life - depends upon her her good friend Chulak and the white elephant he takes care of aka Hamlet. The relationship between Chulak and Hamlet also illustrates the role of friendship in that both are lost without the other. Simultaneously, the book focuses on acceptance of individual choice. Had Lila's father accepted her decision to become a firework-maker, a lot of drama could have been avoided. If Chulak accepted Hamlet's love for Frangipani, time would have been saved. If the king...okay, I'll stop now so I don't ruin any more of the story than I already have!

Memorable Quote: Illusions, Lila. Fire burns away all our illusions. The world itself is all illusion. Everything that exists flickers like a flame for a moment, and then vanishes. The only thing that lasts is change itself.

Quotes like this simultaneously intrigue me and worry me. I'm fascinated by the relationship between Illusion and Reality and the ability of individual people to modify and manipulate Reality in order to create their own particular version. At the same time, part of me wants to lock myself in a room, hug myself, and rock back and forth while humming when I start thinking too hard about all of it. ( )
  EclecticEccentric | Oct 15, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, S. SaeligCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, S. SaeligIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a firework-maker called Lalchand and his daughter, Lila.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the author of 'Count Karlstein' and 'Spring-Heeled Jack', this is a dramatic and witty tale set in the Far East. A young girl faces danger and adventure in her quest to become a firework-maker like her father.

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