From Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park, this is a captivating fantasy-adventure about a boy, a bat, and an amazing transformation. The first book in an enchanting trilogy, Forest of Wonders richly explores the links between magic and botany, family and duty, environment and home.
Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf could unleash a kind of magic.
When an injured bat crashes into his life, Raffa invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the Forest. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences.
Raffa’s experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question whether exciting botanical inventions—including his own—might actually threaten the very creatures of the Forest he wants to protect.
Through his preternatural apothecarial talents, 12-year-old Raffa Santana restores a bat's injured wings and apparently gives the creature the ability to speak. Raffa soon discovers that the potent vine he used has other dangerous powers, spurring a journey to the city of Gilden to warn his cousin Garith about its pitfalls. There's no shortage of action or ethical dilemmas in this endearing tale, first in Park's (A Long Walk to Water) Wing & Claw trilogy. In the city, Raffa finds himself caring for a pair of raccoon babies and making new friends, including Kuma, a scrappy girl known for taming a mighty forest bear. A malicious plot to use experimental herbal infusions on innocent animals is part of an overarching theme in which Raffa wrestles with how to use his knowledge for healing or for deception and even willful harm. As in life, the choices are never black and white as Park's realistically flawed characters struggle between looking out for the greater good or for themselves. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12. Author's agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates.