|Forest of wonders (Wing & claw)|
Author: Park, Linda Sue
Book 1--A young apothecary boy invents a magical concoction with far-reaching consequences in this enchanting fantasy adventure.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 180668
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 68445
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2016 Raffa is a gifted apothecary who uses his synesthesia-inflected intuition to make the best poultices and tonics. When an injured bat flies in his window, he’s determined to prove himself to his parents, so he and his cousin, Garith, seek out a legendary healing scarlet vine. When he uses it on the bat, he discovers an unexpected consequence: his bat can talk! Meanwhile, Raffa’s uncle is summoned to work in the fancy city apothecary, and he and Garith move away. Raffa sneaks out to visit them, and once there, he’s wowed by their fancy new digs, though the sheen dulls when he learns about their troubling secret project. Though most of the pivotal events of Park’s series opener occur toward the end, the world building and rich characters, not to mention a bevy of comical talking animals, will lure in middle-grade fantasy fans, and the gentle message of conservation and kindness to all creatures will resonate with young animal lovers. A cliff-hanger ending leaves plenty to cover in the forthcoming follow-up. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 Gr 4–7—Park's newest foray into fiction is a switch from the historical into the fantastical. In this, the first installment in a trilogy, readers meet Raffa Santana. The young teen protagonist is following in his parents' footsteps and taking on the challenges of apothecary work. Raffa has a deeply profound intuition when it comes to botanical/chemical work. His extreme ability leads him to form uniquely deep relationships with special friends and creatures from the Forest of Wonder. The story is written with skill and well paced. The real beauty in Park's work lies in the relationship she creates between Raffa and Echo the bat. The story contains some high-intensity action scenes that will hook readers. The world-building is intensive; there is clearly a multilayered history and culture underlying the richly detailed setting. This story would be great as a way to create some interest and engagement with students studying chemistry or earth science. VERDICT A strong addition by a wonderfully talented author to diversify middle grade fantasy collections.—Chad Lane, Tulip Grove Elementary School, MD - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2016 Twelve-year-old Raffa has a natural talent for apothecary, and he likes working with plants. When an experiment with a powerful and strange plant results in startling outcomes (a gravely injured bat not only is healed but also learns to speak), Raffa is wisely circumspect about the event, but his ambitious cousin tells all and the word gets to the government of Obsidia. Soon Raffa is caught up in an elaborate plan to stop the government from conducting horrific experiments in animal control; his feelings of guilt and responsibility war with his own curiosity as he grapples with the idea that a lucky forest find could bring a permanent change. Raffa is a bit too perfect, as even his mistakes are noble and well-intentioned, but he is quickly surrounded by three allies, kids from different backgrounds and holding drastically different skill sets, who are much more approachable in their flaws and character depth. Both adorable and useful for communicating with other animals, Echo, the healed bat, is a plus as well. The magic here is measured, doled out in single drops, but it is still magical nonetheless, and readers will find plenty to lure them back for the rest of the anticipated trilogy. A simple map will orient readers to the setting. AS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.