I picked up this book as the children my mum works with were studying a slightly edited version of it at school; the East-Asian background appealed to me & it seemed like a quick way to finally read a Philip Pullman book. I did end up enjoying the book, although partly in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, but I can definitely see why children would find it an entertaining tale.
The Firework-Maker’s Daughter tells the story of a girl called Lila who has grown up surrounded by fireworks that her father has made; Lila adores her father, so naturally wishes to one day become a firework-maker herself… when Lila tells her father this, he tells her that it’s not possible for her to become a firework-maker, because in order to become one she must go on a perilous journey. Against her father’s wishes, Lila runs into the face of danger more than once & if it weren’t for a talking elephant, her story could have ended very differently.
As you can guess from my introduction, this is the only Philip Pullman book I have read thus far; & it was quite a good read. I enjoyed the creativity behind the story-line & there’s no doubt that children would find the random & silly events within the story to be greatly entertaining. The story was fast-paced throughout, & at only 133 pages I definitely felt like I’d been on a full adventure by the end of the last page, but, this is where my but comes in (come on, you all knew that a but was brewing)… Pullman’s writing sometimes felt a little arrogant, & the laughs I did laugh were often done in a tongue-in-cheek way because it was obvious that Pullman thinks himself a funny guy. Which is fine, the story was funny – it just irritated me at times.
I did enjoy the book though, so don’t come after me with your pitchforks – the whole story flowed really well & the pacing was fast enough to keep me engaged (& definitely to keep children engaged), whilst slow enough that the story didn’t feel rushed. I loved all of the characters; with Lila being a strong & feisty influence upon young girls, best friend Chulak showing how important good friends can be, Lila’s father demonstrating that believing in your children is key to keeping them safe & Hamlet the elephant being a bloody fantastic edition to all the tomfoolery. Plus, the group of ridiculous men that kept popping up throughout the book definitely helped to keep the laughs flowing.
Basically, even though this book was totally ridiculous, & despite the fact that Pullman’s attitude got on my nerves at times, The Firework-Maker’s Daughter was a fun, quick read for me on a Friday night & it’s one that I’d love to read to the children at work (alas, I don’t think their attention spans are quite up to it yet). If you fancy getting yourself a copy you can do so using the links below: if you use the Amazon or Book Depository links to make a purchase I will receive a small fee at no cost to you so please consider doing so.
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Waterstones | Wordery
Unfortunately, this title isn’t available on Audible.