It is a great pleasure to write this foreword for Toby K. Davis’s book, which I highly recommend. The Ever Part of Always—Keely Tucker’s First Adventure is a novel about love and friendship across human generations but also about being open to giving and receiving these from nonhuman creatures. It deploys a tremendously rich and captivating vocabulary to convey beauty and wonder in the nature that surrounds us. On behalf of Keely and her friends, it finds unexpected possibilities for comfort and surprise in clouds and in rainbows and their colors, colors that become tinted rivers and homes to new and friendly, and not so friendly, creatures. The wind is a transmission belt of thought-words and sentiments, crossing great distances and different stages of the human condition. The cosmos, home to the clouds, rainbows, winds, secret caves, and dark pools, always described with great appeal to the imagination, is a constant backdrop to Keely’s adventures.
The book is soaked in imagery and situations—from thought language to wondrous unicorns and dragons—whose lineage draws from the timeless fairy tales of the past. But Keely, a heroine if there ever was one, is hardly a princess. She lives firmly in the twenty-first century, and it is not a pretty setting. Hard times; a difficult, somewhat neurotic mother; a father constantly on the road and never there for her; poor performance at school—a litany of woes befall her, all too familiar to our current age. It is her ability to turn it all off—to tune it out and step into a parallel universe of magical properties that envelop her as she takes on responsibility for her dying unicorn friend and embarks on a quest for a special potion—that makes Keely so appealing to the reader, keen to fully join in her adventures. Her canine friend, Growler, and feline boon companion, Meowcher, are almost surrogates for the kids who will read this book, wishing they could be there to ensure that Crea, the infirm unicorn, finally drinks the magic elixir.
Keely is everything any one of us would like to be. She is resourceful and quick thinking as she contemplates each new set of predicaments. She is focused on her goal to save Crea. She is adaptive as she draws water from clouds and uses dragon scales as stepping stones while descending the steep slopes flanking a magical waterfall. She is fearless in sidestepping dragons and ahead of everyone else in learning how to fly from a unicorn. The Ever Part of Always is a great book, which will perhaps encourage kids to revise their thinking of what they can do, to convert, in Keely’s words, the “im- possible” to the “is-possible.” One starts with imagination, after all, and this may be the book to spark the thought that becomes, as the saying goes, father to the deed.