Instead of making language the challenge in the story, Snow Flake has large and unusual feet. She attempts to hide them, but sits next to the class bully, Cannon Ball. Thus, begins the conflict.
Mai and her father, Greg Beatty, developed the story over two years. Mai helped with plot twists and forbid her father to write a Hollywood ending. The 112-page story unfolds with dramatic and hilarious consequences, but Mai insisted, “I didn’t want Snow Flake and Cannon Ball to get together at the end.”
Snow Flake’s journey is a hero’s journey. On her quest, she learns that her unique physical appearance is nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact, it becomes an attribute when she needs to perform a heroic deed.
Mai says, “Kids will relate to Snow Flake’s goal because everyone wants to be accepted by their peers. And all kids face challenges.”
The authors believe that Snow Flake is a good learning partner because the protagonist must think creatively to overcome challenges. As the story moves along, she builds confidence. Mai explains, “One of the themes is the importance of trying. You don’t always have to win. Snow Flake trains hard for the Big Race, even though she knows she can’t win. Instead, she tries to beat Cannon Ball.”
Cannon Ball, the villain, is not your everyday bad boy. He has a talent for hip-hop. Mai and her father enjoy Shel Silverstein poems, so the story is interspersed with several poems in the hip-hop voice of Cannon Ball.
Mai adds, “The most fun was coming up with kooky names for the characters. Joe King tells a lot of jokes. Tish Hughes cries a lot. Anna Conda likes to give smothering hugs, and so on.” Snow Flake has seventeen classmates and they all have names attributable to their personality. The teachers are not spared. The pugnacious math teach is fortuitously named, Calculus Clay.
The authors hope that readers will see how Snow Flake’s uniqueness is not a barrier to being accepted by her peers and how her unique quality brings rewards to others.
Snow Flake and The Big Race is targeted for 8-12-year-olds. The book is superbly illustrated by Thailand resident, Colin Cotterill, also an accomplished author. Mai contributed with some sketches too.
The authors are writing their next book. It’s a kid’s cookbook. The story will continue with Snow Flake and Cannon Ball competing in a baking contest. The story will be supplemented with more than 100 recipes designed my Mai and her aunt, a prominent chef in London. Mai loves to cook when she’s not doing her homework and playing sports after school.
The Snow Flake book is available at all leading bookstores in Thailand and on Amazon. An audible version will be released soon, read by Dan Russell, the narrator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.