Matt Pelicano and a friend were hiking in the French Alps when they saw a butterfly fly by.
They wondered where the butterfly came from and where it was headed. Then Pelicano asked, “what if this butterfly was trapped on a train headed for Paris?”
That became the premise of the Greenville resident’s newest children’s book, “A Butterfly in Paris,” available on Amazon and at barnesandnoble.com.
The middle reader stars Esmée Délancourt, a La Belle Dame (Painted Lady) butterfly who finds herself the unwilling participant of an adventure through the City of Lights when she becomes trapped on a commuter train.
“She never wanted to leave her hometown. She’s somewhat of a homebody, and she spends the next few days trying to find her way back from Paris,” Pelicano says.
Part adventure story, part travel log, the book features a supporting cast of little critters, including a magpie, a badger, owls, squirrels, garden ants and a whole network of groundhogs.
“There’s a play on the groundhog’s network and the internet,” Pelicano says. “I make a lot of references that the groundhogs actually invented the internet, and the internet is an interconnected network of their tunnels.”
“A Butterfly in Paris” is Pelicano’s fifth book for children, and, he believes, the most developed.
“My favorite part of writing the book was all the twists and turns of the plot,” Pelicano says. “It’s a drama. It’s an adventure story; it’s a love story. It was fun to throw my characters into different situations and watch them work their way out.”
Pelicano says he’s been pleased with the response the book has gotten so far. Parents have told him that they enjoy sitting down at night and reading it with their children, and his illustrator loved it so much that he ordered 10 copies.
The book also has a following in France.
“They love the fact that it’s accurate to the area. They feel like they’re in France, and that’s really what I was hoping for,” Pelicano says.