Raffa dreams of being a great apothecary like his father. If only his parents gave him the freedom to experiment on his own the way his cousin Garith does. Why, Garith isn’t nearly as astute as Raffa when it comes to understanding how plants interact to make curative salves!

When a small bat arrives in his yard with strange injuries, Raffa sees an opportunity to prove himself. He convinces his father to allow him to treat the bat with little guidance. Using a rare vine from the nearby “Forest”, Raffa succeeds not just in healing the bat, but in giving it unexpected capabilities. Although he knows he should keep his discovery to himself, Raffa quickly becomes embroiled in a dangerous situation in which he learns to appreciate his parents’ discretion and professional integrity.

This first in Linda Sue Park’s Wing and Claw Trilogy introduces a young protagonist who strives to be loyal and just. Raffa loves and respects his various family members and friends. Like many young people, though, his judgment is often flawed. Good intentions go awry, and Raffa frequently questions whether they justify his actions. Too late he understands why parents exercise caution in their professional work. The story leaves readers with many unanswered questions and wondering if Raffa and his companions will safely return home.

A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is now a full-time wife and mother.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...