The Snail and the Butterfly Virtual Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Friday, September 15, 2023


The Snail and the Butterfly

Written by Dougie Coop

Illustrated by CJ the Kid

Ages 4+ | 42 Pages

Publisher: Rare Bird Books | ISBN-13: 9781644283653

Publisher’s Book Summary: Have you ever wanted to do something great? Something no one else believed you could do? Well, here is your chance to learn how. Meet a little snail who wanted to fly and an old butterfly who questioned why. Travel with the little snail as he crawls up a mushroom determined to soar from the top. But every time, the same thing makes him stop: fear. Sound familiar?

Filled with inspiration and motivation, this magical conversation between an ambitious snail and a seasoned butterfly encourages us to pursue our dreams regardless of who we are or where we come from.

With words by award-winning author Doug Cooper aka Dougie Coop, and illustrations by acclaimed Australian artist CJ the Kid, the rhythmic verse and playful style remind us that we can all achieve the impossible as long as we believe, trust, and persevere.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.

For more information, visit


Author Dougie Coop, or better known under his award-winning literary fiction and thriller pen name Doug Cooper, is the author of the literary novels Outside In, The Investment Club, Focus Lost, and host of the podcast, The Store Next Door. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty-five countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. The Snail And The Butterfly is his first children’s picture book.


Artist Christopher Jhureea, known as CJ the Kid in the creative world, has danced in television commercials, films, and theatrical productions from Australia to the United States, including three years in a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. Sharing free-flowing imagination and color with the world is how he interprets and answers life’s complex questions and also as a reminder to himself and others that we should always have fun and keep the kid alive in ourselves. The Snail And The Butterfly is his first children’s picture book, too.


Life Is What It's Called - Why do you feel the theme is essential for young children?

Dougie Coop - When choosing books for young readers, the best are those that ignite curiosity, nurture imagination, and are visually appealing. The Snail And The Butterfly strives for all three, with a plot that encourages young readers to pursue dreams, commit and persevere to goals, and the importance of forming personal relationships. With its storytelling style and beautiful illustrations by artist CJ the Kid, it holds universal appeal, resonating with children and adults alike. The story presents us with numerous life lessons such as dealing with fear, nurturing friendships, and believing in ourselves, embedded in a context that young children can understand and appreciate.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think children will like most about this book?

Dougie Coop - The colors and whimsical style CJ the Kid created for the artwork are so beautiful. They really draw you in and are soothing and comforting at the same time. The snail & butterfly represent pure imagination, freedom, and playfulness. Children will relate to the hopes, dreams, and difficulties of the snail. They will enjoy the experience of reading and discussing the book with parents, grandparents, and siblings due to the lyrical style and messages and construct of the story. The friendship and trust formed between the snail and butterfly will also develop between the young and old readers who share the experience.

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share a little about your background and what led you to write for children?

Dougie Coop - Everything starts with an idea, an impulse, some vision of something we feel has value to share. From there it gestates, sometimes quickly and sometimes over a long period like with The Snail And The Butterfly, almost thirty years from ideation to publication. Much like a sculpture starts as an uncarved block and the artist works to reveal what he or she sees, a story is very much the same. I had an experience that taught me a universal message, and I believed it was worthy to be shared. Initially I wrote it as a poem, then a short story, then realized the core of the story was the relationship, and it would be best as a children’s book read together with children and adults. The challenge was I can’t draw. It wasn’t until I met CJ the Kid in Vegas in 2013 and saw his snail and mushroom drawing on the wall at a coffee shop called Makers & Finders where we both hung out that the idea crystallized. I pitched him the idea, and he was interested, so I rewrote the story with the snail and butterfly as the characters. We talked about it some, but for whatever reason, it never went anywhere. I eventually moved back to Ohio, and CJ went back to Australia. Another five years passed. I released my second novel The Investment Club, set in Las Vegas, and third, Focus Lost, based in LA. It was September 2021. I reached out to CJ via Instagram to check if he was still interested, which he was. I started sending him scenes one by one, basically just a description of the action and the words, and he would send me back the digital art. A few amazing aspects to this. One, we never once talked on the phone, video call or anything, and still haven’t. All work was done through the Instagram message app and email. Another cool characteristic of the process was how simple it was. Most of the time CJ nailed it on the first try. Not much iterating back and forth. A few months later we had the book done. So a lot of zigs and zags to get there, but when I look back and at the finished product, every single one needed to happen and required the time it took.

Life Is What It's Called - In what ways is The Snail and the Butterfly similar and different from your other literary ventures?

Dougie Coop - All my writing, regardless of form or genre, I craft in layers, thinking of it much like a chef does in creating a dish, incorporating as many of the senses as possible. What is the initial flavor, after-taste, and residual nutritional value? I want the story to have breadth and depth with a simple message that anyone will absorb but also deeper levels of meaning for those who want to dig in and chew on it more.

The high-level message of The Snail And The Butterfly is we can all do great, seemingly impossible things, regardless of who we are and where we come from, if we believe and persevere. The more sub-conscious, mythic meaning is something I really think is missing in our modern culture. We encourage everyone to dream big, and that anything is possible, but we’re not really equipped for what happens when we struggle or fail, which will happen to us all at some point. This is one of the reasons why escapism is so rampant, and we seek out comfort, often to excess, much to our own detriment whether it is food, alcohol, drugs, or whatever vice. The little snail wants to fly, is determined to fly, but gets scared, doubts itself, goes through all the questions we face in our daily lives. What am doing? Why am I doing this? Is this even possible? The easiest course when faced with these questions is to quit or hide, whether that is actual physical isolation or in other activities, healthy and unhealthy. So, the meaning here is that it’s ok to fail, to be scared, to question. Just take a pause, rest, refocus, and begin again.

The residual meaning, or nourishment, staying with the chef metaphor, is we need to push through our fears, trust and listen to the butterflies around use, believe in ourselves, and take the leap. It’s easy to get caught up in the solitary journey of life, that we are in this alone, and each need to forge our own paths. The reality is the journey is shared. We can learn from one another’s journeys and exist to help each other. We are both seeker and guide, student and teacher, snail and butterfly.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you feel this book stands apart from other books on the market? 

Dougie Coop - One of the great aspects of children’s literature is the diversity. Outside of maybe length, there really isn’t a common form. Maybe some similar themes and styles, but most books are so unique. I can’t say that I really tried differentiating Snail & Butterfly from other books. My main goal was to be true to the vision I had and get as close as possible to executing that.

Looking back from ideation thirty years ago to the book on the shelf, some of the things I am most proud of and reasons why I think it is a good book for children are the artwork, the structure, and the message. CJ the Kid is an accomplished artist in both US and Australia in different formats and mediums. His artwork brings playfulness and freedom to the story. Because of his broad talents and experience, he adds simplicity and depth at the same time. The colors, style, and forms simultaneously engage and comfort.

What I love about the structure is that it is a conversation between young and old, student and teacher, novice and expert. This construct is a universal relationship in our lives. We all begin as the little snail, but as we age, we fulfill the old butterfly role more and more. We must remember, however, the little snail is always in us and seek out new things and relationships to keep the role alive. Because children’s books are a shared reading experience between young and old, the actual reading of the book is what is happening on the pages.

The message of dream-believe-achieve is timely because we need to tweak our myths and archetypes to really emphasize fear and failure are all part of our journeys. We don’t need to escape or avoid them. If we dream of flying and get scared climbing up the mushroom, it’s perfectly fine to recoil and hide while recharging to push on. It’s terrifying to pursue our dreams. We must remember to be kind to ourselves. When the time is right, we’ll begin again and eventually push to the top. At some point, we’ll be at the precipice, the moment of truth, or crunch time, as it is known. This is the second part of the message. When we’re at the cusp, that exhilarating peak between success and failure, we must have the faith and belief to persevere. Taking the leap is the victory. Regardless of outcome, we have already won.

Life Is What It's Called - Will there be more snail and butterfly adventures?

Dougie Coop - I hadn’t really considered continuing the story, but one parent shared with me that his young reader finished it and was really excited about the snail being able to fly. He wanted to know what happened next. Where did the snail go after he could fly? What did he and the butterfly do? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Our journeys don’t end when we achieve our goals. They begin again in new directions. The snail and butterfly have formed this beautiful friendship and trust. They can go anywhere and do anything. So much possibility. Stay tuned. Definitely could be more on the horizon from these two lovable aviators.

Life Is What It's Called - What literary works are you working on right now?

Dougie Coop - I have a few more children’s book ideas in the pipeline. One has a male and female version of the same story: A Boy, A Ball, A Dream and A Girl, A Game, A Dream. For many of us, our first dreams and winning and losing experiences come from sports. The story is about the what, why, where, and how of having those dreams and what we do to achieve them. Another fun idea I have been noodling on is called the The Shaky Chef about someone who loves to cook and wants to be a chef but unfortunately cares so much about it and has such unsteady hands, he gets really nervous and always messes up the delivery. Others discourage the character from pursuing the dream because of the shakiness and how he always screws up the result. It's about pursuing what we love for the joy of it, not just because we are proficient, and others recognize our gifts. I also have another novel all plotted and planned called Nice To See Me about children disappearing from a lakeside park, but when one of them return, unharmed, and is willing to show only her father where she has been, will he and the others really be able to see and ever believe what is happening? I plan to finish that early next year so probably 2025.


Enter for the chance to win a personalized, signed copy of The Snail and the Butterfly, a Sticker Sheet, and a set of small and large Pins.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A personalized, signed copy of The Snail and the Butterfly
  • A Sticker Sheet
  • A set of small and large Pins.

Nine (9) winners receive:
  • A personalized, signed copy of The Snail and the Butterfly

This post is sponsored by Dougie Coop. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

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