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The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip…

The Firework-Maker's Daughter

by Philip Pullman

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  askajnaiman | Jun 14, 2016 |
Lila has helped her father Lalchand create fireworks almost all her life and she wants to be a proper fireworks maker. But when Lalchand won’t reveal the secret to becoming a fireworks maker, she runs off to meet the fire-fiend of Mount Merapc to get the secret. She is forced to return home when she learns Lalchand has been arrested on suspicion of helping the king’s white elephant escape. The only way he can escape punishment by death is if they have the winning fireworks display at the fireworks contest. Good strong female story. Made me think of “My Father’s Dragon.”
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Description: More than anything else in the world, Lila wants to be a Firework-Maker. But every Firework-Maker must make a perilous journey to face the terrifying Fire-Fiend! Can Lila possibly survive? Especially when she doesn't know she needs special protection to survive his flames...The exciting and heart-warming story of Lila's journey to face the fearful fire demon fizzes with fun and drama.

Thoughts: I've really been enjoying reading Pullman's books for younger readers (previously I had only read His Dark Materials which are some of my favorite books). Earlier in the year I read The Scarecrow and His Servant which I really enjoyed but it was a bit overly fantastical. The Firework-Maker's Daughter was a good compliment to that book. While there is still a nice dollop of the fantastical in this, it's much more controlled and delivered like many of my favorite myths. Where I enjoyed this story a bit more, however, I found the pacing was too fast. I know this is a particular issue of short middle grade books, this story trotted along a bit more than was probably good for it... I wish Lila had needed to work for her goal a bit harder and if her meeting with Chulak hadn't been quite so fortuitous. But, in the end, I would still recommend this highly, especially if you have a determined and talented girl in your life.

http://www.librarything.com/topic/134084#3384995 ( )
  leahbird | Jan 13, 2015 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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