New Collection of Children’s Books Invites Young Readers to Embark on Diverse Imaginative Adventures

The Ever Part of Always: Keely Tucker’s First Adventure


The Wonderful World of Om

The Adventures of Shima the Shiba

Under Santa’s Hat

Five new books from The Maple Staple celebrate the power of imagination in children’s literature across various genres.

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, March 8, 2024 / — A new collection of children’s books brings together five distinct stories, each offering a unique journey into worlds of wonder, adventure, and fantasy for young readers at The Maple Staple. These books, spanning various genres, share a common theme of imagination and exploration, appealing to the curiosity and creativity of children.

“The Ever Part of Always: Keely Tucker’s First Adventure” by Toby K. Davis opens this collection with a foray into the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Davis’ narrative skillfully blends the thrill of exploration with the joys of discovery, weaving a tale of courage and imagination in a modern-day setting.

This science fiction and fantasy book for children tells the story of ten-year-old Keely Rosalie Tucker, a girl who feels out of place and struggles with bullying. Her life takes an extraordinary turn when she inherits her grandmother’s aging horse, Mariah, who reveals a magical world to Keely. Set in the fictional town of Cootersville, in rural Appalachia, the story blends family stories and vivid imagination, creating a backdrop that resonates with authenticity and charm.

The book uses elements of fantasy to inspire children to see their unique traits as strengths, encouraging them to fight alongside Keely against metaphorical dragons. It also serves as a guide for children to navigate through tough situations like bullying, loss, and self-doubt, using fantasy as a tool for problem-solving and emotional growth. Toby K. Davis, with her eclectic background and creative approach, invites readers into a world where words paint vivid pictures and where every child can find the hero within.

Transitioning from futuristic landscapes to the whimsical world of insects, “Bugly” by Tom Peacock offers a vividly illustrated journey. This children’s picture book brings the fascinating world of bugs right into the hands of young readers.

Through the adventures of Bugly, a friendly ladybug, children are introduced to the diverse and vibrant world of insects. Peacock’s narrative skillfully combines fun, education, and art, as Bugly acquaints children with different bugs, teaching them about various sizes, shapes, and colors.

Tom Peacock’s own journey as an artist and cowboy adds a unique depth to his work, having honed his skills at the Art Instruction School and later at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. His inspiration for “Bugly” came from the curiosity and enthusiasm of his grandchildren, and his love for art is evident in every page of the book, encouraging children to explore and learn about the natural world around them, fostering a sense of wonder and discovery.

The theme of exploring imaginative worlds continues with “The Wonderful World of Om” by Desmond E. Berghofer. Here, fantasy and science fiction merge, creating a tapestry of stories that speak to both the mind and the heart, and showcasing the limitless possibilities of the imagination.

This children’s book, blending elements of science fiction and fantasy, follows the journey of eleven-year-old Sam Warner. Sam, disillusioned by the demolition of his favorite bowling alley in Vancouver and the inaction of authorities, finds himself in Om, a parallel world needing his unique skills as a champion bowler to avert impending danger.

Desmond E. Berghofer, an accomplished Canadian author with several novels and a memoir under his belt, skillfully balances a real-life scenario with a fantastical leap, capturing the imagination of young readers. With “The Wonderful World of Om”, his first venture into children’s literature, Berghofer applies his expertise in exploring profound themes to a younger audience, and inspires readers to think about their actions and the world around them.

In a charming shift to the animal kingdom, “The Adventures of Shima the Shiba” by Mike Missanelli combines elements of literature and fiction in a picture book format. This tale, the beginning of a series, introduces young readers to the charming and insightful world of Shima, a Shiba Inu with a personality as unique and captivating as the breed itself.

The narrative follows Shima’s journey as she navigates life with her new owner. It is a tale of mutual growth and understanding, highlighting the unconditional love between a pet and its owner. Through Shima’s eyes, children learn about the importance of overcoming mistakes, the value of friendship, and the pursuit of dreams. The story is uniquely told from Shima’s perspective, offering a refreshing and imaginative outlook on everyday experiences and challenges.

Mike Missanelli, a prominent media figure with over three decades of experience in journalism across print, radio, and television, brings his keen observational skills to this book. Drawing from his personal experiences with his own Shiba Inu, Shima, Missanelli captures the essence of this special breed’s independence and sometimes stubborn nature, traits that mirror the journey of growing up. The book is ideal for children aged 3 to 8, serving as an engaging read for young learners and a delightful story for parents to share with their children. A portion of the proceeds from this series will also be donated to animal shelters, making each purchase a contribution to the welfare of animals.

The collection culminates with “Under Santa’s Hat” by Rick Ryan, a festive and heartwarming story that journeys into the heart of childhood wonder and imagination.

This enchanting tale takes its place among a collection of imaginative children’s books that explore diverse worlds and experiences. In this festive narrative, readers are transported to the magical North Pole, where even Santa Claus himself faces a whimsical predicament. The story begins with a relatable moment – Santa Claus noticing his thinning hair. However, it quickly escalates into an extraordinary adventure that captures the essence of Christmas magic.

What sets this book apart is Rick Ryan’s skillful storytelling. With a background as a songwriter and lyricist, including a platinum album with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Ryan brings a lyrical quality to his writing. His narrative is rich and engaging, perfect for readers of all ages. The book is beautifully illustrated by Laurah Grijalva, whose artwork adds depth and charm to the story, making the North Pole come alive on the pages. It encourages readers, both young and old, to find the magic in everyday life and to believe in the possibility of wonders, and is destined to become a Christmas classic, a story that will be cherished and revisited year after year as part of the holiday tradition.

Each of these titles, while distinct in their storytelling, collectively celebrates the boundless creativity and imagination inherent in children’s literature. They offer young readers a passport to worlds where adventure, wonder, and discovery are just a page turn away.

The upcoming London Book Fair 2024, scheduled for March 12-14 at Olympia London, offers a wonderful backdrop to the celebration of this avenue of literature. The Maple Staple, in collaboration with Bookside Press, is thrilled to spotlight these five exceptional books, each contributing a unique narrative and thematic elements that champion the boundless realms of imagination and adventure.

As the fair celebrates its 50-year legacy of shaping the publishing year and fostering industry connections, The Maple Staple’s exhibition at the event will be a focal point for those who cherish the art of storytelling and the joy it brings to young readers. The fair’s vibrant atmosphere will be further enriched by the presence of these five books, each a beacon of imaginative storytelling.

For more information, please visit The London Book Fair website:, and The Maple Staple’s exhibitor profile. The featured books at The Maple Staple’s stand are poised to captivate, educate, and inspire, embodying the spirit of adventure and imagination that is at the heart of all great children’s stories.

Emmanuel Laguardia
The MapleStaple
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