The Firework-Maker's Daughter

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Overview

The Firework-Maker's Daughter, is award winning children's writer Philip Pullman's brilliant and inspiring story about Lila, who dreams of becoming a firework-maker just like her father.

In a country far to the east, Chulak and his talking white elephant Hamlet help Lila seek the Royal Sulphur from the sacred volcano so that she can become a master maker of fireworks like her father.

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Firework Maker's Daughter

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Overview

The Firework-Maker's Daughter, is award winning children's writer Philip Pullman's brilliant and inspiring story about Lila, who dreams of becoming a firework-maker just like her father.

In a country far to the east, Chulak and his talking white elephant Hamlet help Lila seek the Royal Sulphur from the sacred volcano so that she can become a master maker of fireworks like her father.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This comical adventure about a girl who longs to follow in her father's footsteps crackles with Pullman's (The Golden Compass; Clockwork) usual flair. Lila desperately wants to be a firework-maker like her widower father. Although he has raised her amid the dancing sparks, he wants her to have a husband rather than a vocation. With the help of her entrepreneurial friend Chulak, the personal servant to the king's talking white elephant, Lila tricks her father into revealing the secret to his profession, then bravely departs to retrieve the royal sulphur from Razvani the Fire-Fiend at the heart of a volcano. Pullman marries elements of fairy tale with slapstick humor as Lila outwits a vaudevillian band of pirates and scales jagged mountains on her quest. Gallagher's (Blue Willow, reviewed above) softly focused graphite drawings lend magical mystery as Lila fearfully contemplates the dancing fire imps at Mount Merapi and emphasize the absurdity as the elephant, his flanks emblazoned with advertisements, kneels before the Goddess of the Lake in order to save Lila from Razvani. If the tale, first published in Britain in 1995, isn't as polished as Pullman's other works, it's worth the trip just for the climactic fireworks scene in which Lila gets to show her stuff. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) FYI: As of September, Pullman's Sally Lockhart Trilogy is being reissued in paperback: The Ruby in the Smoke; The Shadow in the North; and The Tiger in the Well; as well as The Tin Princess, which features characters from the trilogy. (Knopf, $4.99 paper each ages 12-up ISBN 0-394-89589-4; -82599-3; ISBN 0-679-82671-8; -87615-4) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
ALAN Review
This is an imaginative tale of a spunky young girl who wants to follow in her father's footsteps and become a "master fireworks maker." The trouble is that she must team with the secret behind making outstanding fireworks. Soon, our heroine learns that the secret of outstanding fireworks resides with the "Fire-Fiend" in the "Heart of the Mountain." So, she runs away from her home to locate "the secret," only to find trouble and misadventure along the way. This short and very readable novel alternates between a description of the girl's journey and her father's desperate attempt to find his runaway daughter.This book is a wonderful blend of humor, adventure, and wisdom, set in an exotic Far Eastern setting. All the characters in the book have memorable personalities and the descriptions of the forests, mountains, and the fireworks make for a colorful and enjoyable read. The Firework-Maker's Daughter is a short book with a strong, young heroine and is appropriate for late elementary and early middle school readers. Genre: Fantasy. 1999, Arthur A. Levine Books, Ages 9 to 12, $15.95. Reviewer: Hal Foster
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Philip Pullman gives us another fillip to stave off impatience for the third installment of his "Dark Materials" trilogy. Unlike his recent Clockwork, this offering is far from dark and gothic. This light and cheerful fable describes the adventures of Lila, whose desire to follow in her father's footsteps as a firework-maker takes her on a quest up and into a volcano in search of the secrets of fire. Luckily, she has lots of help from good friends. Among them is a talking white elephant named Hamlet, and his keeper, a young man worthy of a career on Madison Avenue. It is a handsomely designed book, with evocative black-and-white illustrations by S. Saelig Gallagher, reminiscent of her work in Pam Conrad's Blue Willow.
Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A story set "A thousand miles ago" and very far away. Having grown up amid the clutter and creations in her firework-maker father's studio, Lila wants only to follow in his footsteps, but Lalchand thinks more of finding a husband for his daughter. Since he won't see things her way, Lila enlists the aid of her friend Chulak, keeper of the king's talking white elephant Hamlet, to help her find out what she needs to complete her apprenticeship and become a master firework-maker. Chulak learns that the final test is to obtain the royal sulfur from the Grotto of Razvani the Fire-Fiend, and Lila runs away to do this, before Chulak finds out that it takes more than determination to accomplish this quest. Now Lila's life is in danger, from more than the bumbling pirates who kidnap her along the way, and it is up to Chulak and Hamlet to find her before it is too late. Stately but expressive graphite drawings open each chapter and, along with decorated title and half-title pages, add to the expanded folktale feel of this story. This title is similar in length and probable audience to Pullman's Clockwork Scholastic, 1998; however, where that book used horror and suspense to rivet readers to the page, this one will be remembered for its broad humor and gentle moral featuring a determined girl who reaches her goals through hard work, courage, and perseverance. Young readers will see, hear, smell, and be dazzled by the fireworks that burst forth, as Lila earns her heart's desire.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849430692
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group
  • Publication date: 10/18/2011
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 853,511
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip  Pullman
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has sold more than fifteen million copies and has been published in more than forty countries. The first volume, The Golden Compass, was made into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Pullman is at work on a companion His Dark Materials novel, The Book of Dust. He lives in Oxford, England.

Good To Know

Interesting facts about Philip Pullman and his books:
  • The Amber Spyglass was the first children's book to be named the Whitbread Book of the Year.

  • Among the other awards Pullman has received are Britain's prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (a sort of Nobel Prize for children's literature) honoring his entire body of work.

  • Pullman enjoys playing the piano. "I'd like to play it well," he quips on his website. "But I can't, so the rest of the family has to put up with my playing it badly."

  • Pullman persuaded his publisher to let him illustrate the first two books of His Dark Materials with small, symbolic pen and ink drawings at the start of each chapter. Although these illustrations were left out of first editions in the U.S., they have been included in later editions. The third book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass does not have illustrations, but chapters begin with quotations from some of Pullman's favorite writers, like John Milton, William Blake, and Emily Dickinson.

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      1. Hometown:
        Oxford, England
      1. Date of Birth:
        October 19, 1946
      2. Place of Birth:
        Norwich, England
      1. Education:
        Exeter College, Oxford University
      2. Website:

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 5
    ( 5 )
    Rating Distribution

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    Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted May 19, 2002

      Awesome book!!!

      This book was excellent! The little girl was so enthusiastic! I recommend this book to people who LOVE adventure.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 1, 2000

      My review

      I think that the Firework Maker's Daughter is a very good book, it made me laugh throughout the story. It's very heart-warming, I think people of all ages would enjoy this lighthearted tale!

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 10, 2013

      Classic pullman

      Just as exciting as the golden compass.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted February 8, 2007

      Great Read Aloud for Primary Students

      As a teacher of primary grades 1-3, I thoroughly recommend this book. My students loved the story and it makes a great read-aloud. Excellent characters and setting. I've also used excerpts of this book for visualizing or creating mental image lessons.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 20, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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