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The Firework-Maker's Daughter

Written by Philip Pullman

Illustrated by Susan Saelig Gallagher

From the author of The Golden Compass and Clockworka an unforgettable new heroine with a heart of fire.

A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a firework-maker called Lalochand and his daughter Lila.

Lila's learned from her father almost all there is to know about making fireworks. But he's held back the final secret, the most dangerous one, saying Lila's not ready to know. Not to be deterred, the headstrong girl enlists the help of her friend Chulak, and discovers that anyone who wants to be a true Firework-Maker must face down the Fire-Fiend, of Mount Merapi, and bring back some of the Royal Sulfur. So Lila sets off fearlessly, ready to face pirates and demons and anything else that gets in her way.

Only after she's gone does Chulak discover the other half of the secret - that Lila needs a flask of magic water from the Goddess of the Emerald Lake. Otherwise she'll perish in the flames. So Chulak and Hamlet, the talking white elephant, set off on a quest of their own to bring the flask to Lila before it's too late.

In the great Pullman tradition, another coup of breathless storytelling, with stunning illustrations to match.

Reviews and Awards

Booklist Editors' Choice 1999
Smarties Prize Gold Medal

⋆ “Reminiscent in spirit of Lloyd Alexander's tales with their strong, clever heroines, this story is abundantly good natured and rich with humorous scenes and philosophical underpinings. Pullman portrays his main characters deftly, sets them in a colorful, convincing world, and brings the story to a memorable climax in a fireworks competition of grand proportions.” - Booklist, starred review

“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.” - School Library Journal

“Characteristically, Pullman builds anticipation to a breathtaking conclusion, while Gallagher’s distinctive black-and-white illustrations lead readers on a fantastical journey fraught with danger and a dream realized.” - Kirkus

“This comical adventure about a girl who longs to follow in her father’s footsteps crackles with Pullman’s usual flair… It’s worth the trip just for the climactic fireworks scene in which Lila gets to show her stuff.” - Publisher’s Weekly

⋆ “Pullman, a master storyteller, has created an exciting coming-of-age story of courage, love, and friendship…[His] clever and determined female protagonist communicates the message that girls should be judged by their talents, not their sex.” - The Book Report, starred review

“This relatively short and seemingly simple story will find an eager audience who will appreciate the brave heroine, her steadfast friend, and their adventures. Readers will also enjoy observing the shenanigans of an inept bandit and his band of silly followers in a subplot. The writing is spirited, the fireworks are lively, and the characters are a treat.” Voice of Youth Advocates 

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 1999
Illustrated Novel
ISBN: 0-590-18719-8
Price: $15.95/$21.99
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 112
Foreign Rights: A. P. Watt Ltd.
Translation Rights: A. P. Watt Ltd.
Rights Available? yes

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