An adventure-packed magical tale that skillfully balances childlike whimsy with the vulnerable parts that make us human. A magical tale that will sweep young readers off their feet, Toby K. Davis’s THE EVER PART OF ALWAYS (Keely Tucker’s First Adventure) draws on every child’s fantasies of flying, talking animals, mythical creatures, daring adventures, and standing up to bullies. However, this unicorn and star-speckled tale also explores more serious topics such as death, abuse, and self-discovery. Keely is a young girl whose Gramm entrusts her to look after her aging horse, Mariah. To everyone’s surprise, Mariah is pregnant and–before her passing–births a baby unicorn named Crea. Keely relies on her furry friends Meowcher and Growler to help care for Crea, and a heroic journey of nurturing love and friendship across the cosmos follows. What Davis captures well is the magic to be found in both reality and fantasy. Whether Keely is on the ground or in the skies, her adventures are painted with captivating detail and wanderlust. The wind, skies, and stars come to life as they guide Keely in her adventure. The few illustrations throughout the book are beautiful and depict the scenes wonderfully. Keely’s journey to confidence and self-assurance is inspiring, as is her ability to navigate the physical abuse from a neighborhood bully and emotional abuse from her angry mother by focusing her energy on helping others. In the end it is by listening to her inner voice and inspiring others to challenge what they perceive to be impossible that is Keely ‘s greatest adventure. While the story quickly sweeps the reader into fantasy, in some places THE EVER PART OF ALWAYS struggles with pacing. Keely’s days are slow and detailed up until her flying lessons at which point her adventures become a whirlwind of chaos and triumph. The storyline could benefit from mentions of time so that readers can better orient themselves within time, space, and stars. This would also help tie in the very emotional response Keely receives from her mother in the end. Toby K. Davis’s beautifully written and always engaging, THE EVER PART OF ALWAYS (Keely Tucker’s First Adventure) is a heartfelt tale for young and older readers alike who delight in the magic of friendship, self-discovery, and bravery.

Reviewer: Bailey Seibel, IndieReader