Paperback: 119 pages
Publisher: Corgi Yearling Books (4 Nov 2004)
This is a delightful, though brief tale. (The large print hides the fact there is barely half a normal page's word count, so this is novella in size). Set in a mythical Asian country (with touches of both India and China), the girl Lila wishes to become a firework-maker like her father. But, like many fathers, he is afraid to let her follow in a man's trade. Of course, that's not going to stop her. And of course, without his advice, she ends up following some inadvisable paths.
Despite the potential outcomes at some points, this is not a threatening story. When you know that the boat Lila has got into is crewed by pirates, you also know that they're incompetent. But that is the charm - you don't always want tension, sometimes you want a traditionally gentle story. To conclude, a typical Pullman short novel, suitable for young children, but not so simple as to be painful to adults.