12 October 2010

Book Review: The Firework-Maker's Daughter

Title: The Firework-Maker's Daughter
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 1995
Date Finished: 9 October 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading, Hogwarts Reading Challenge, Young Adult Reading

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.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

things mean a lot; interesting teacher's guide for grade school; Scholastic's Discussion Guide;

I'd love to pass my copy on to someone else, so if you are interested in receiving my copy, leave your email address in the comments.


  1. I love Pullman; I've read the Sally Lockhart books as well as His Dark Materials–perhaps I need to dig a bit further into his canon!

  2. Hah, do try to stay out of that locked room please Trisha :) This sounds like a really fun read - and very different from The Golden Compass!

  3. I like the cover and the premise, I'll bite!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  4. Thank you for reminding me of this book! I hadn't thought about it in a long time, and reading your review brought back how lovely and satisfying it was.

  5. This does sound like a really interesting and unique book, and I understand completely your feelings about that quote. I am going to have to check this book out. I am sadly uninformed on a lot of Pullman's work.

  6. Hmmm...sounds like an interesting book. But I'm afraid I might end up in a corner too rocking back and forth.

  7. I'm torn -- I loved His Dark Materials but loathed the Sally Lockhart novels -- I'm so unsure if I really like him! Thanks for the review.

  8. I am loving that cover! Your rocking however concerns me.... LOL

  9. I've only read one of Pullman's kid's books (I mean, younger kids than His Dark Materials and Sally Lockhart books), but I know he's got a bunch of them. I hadn't heard of this one, though, and it certainly looks interesting!

  10. i should just be allowed back home. they were told to keep me in by social services and my partner stayed as well. i found it much easier having him around as i didn't feel like a single parent and he was there if i needed him.


Talk to me baby!