Fireworks are fascinating. Lila has been raised as the Firework Maker's daughter and she has developed wonderful skills. Now she feels ready to become a firework maker in her own right but her father will not reveal the final steps in this process. Lila enlists the help of the young elephant keeper Chulak. He talks with Lalchand, Lila’s father, and discovers firework makers have to “travel to the grotto of Razvani, the Fire-Fiend, in the heart of Mount Merapi, and bring back some of the Royal Sulphur." When Chulak tells Lila about this she sets of immediately but there is one important thing Lalchand has neglected to reveal. Lila will need a flask of magic water from the Goddess of the Emerald Lake. Without this she will perish.
This information means Chulak must now rush to assist his friend. Chulak takes with him the white talking elephant called Hamish. Along the way our heroes will meet some wonderful and oddball characters, Hamish will be painted with slogans and everything will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display – a display that could mean life or death for its creators.
You might know Philip Pullman for his wonderful Dark Materials trilogy. The Firework Maker's daughter is also a fabulous story intended for a younger audience and containing unpredictable twists and turns and perfect illustrations.
If you enjoy The Firework Maker's Daughter you should look for Where the Mountain meets the moon by Grace Lin, The Magnificent Nose by Anna Fienberg and the Sarindi series by Janine Fraser.
Here are some notes for The Firework Maker's daughter.