Fancy that! After a neck-and-neck poll, Fancy Pants will be the next children’s book to be brought to life at Storybook Walk, at Aberfoyle Park’s Thalassa Park.

More than 1300 votes were received via City of Onkaparinga’s Your Say page or by hand at Onkaparinga Libraries in January and February. While the lead changed between Fancy Pants and Mama Ocean several times, it was the rollicking tale of Dingo and his friends preparing for the Outback Dance—written by Kelly Hibbert, illustrated by Amanda Graham and published by Little Book Press—that took the win with 49 per cent of the vote.

Mama Ocean (by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich) came in second with 39 per cent, and Esmeralda’s Nest (by Robert Moore and illustrated by Mandy Foot) couldn’t get its snout over the line with 12 per cent.

An expression of interest process will soon be held, with the artist(s) to be selected later this year and the new sculpture to be unveiled in 2022.

It’ll join the likes of Grug, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Storm Boy and The Dirty Dinosaur, which have been immortalised in sculpture at the tranquil and popular park.

Fancy Pants author Kelly Hibbert said not in her wildest dreams could she have imagined such a tremendous honour.

“I can’t wait for children and their grownups, from our local community and beyond, to be able to come visit Thalassa Park and appreciate all the sculptures including Fancy Pants,” she said.

“I’ll be just as delighted as Dingo!”

Fancy Pants illustrator Amanda Graham said Storybook Walk is a delightful way for children and their families to get to know picture books created by Australians over the years.

“It’s quite a thrill to know that Dingo and some of his Fancy Pants friends will be joining the sculpture parade soon,” she said.

Sue Hill, CEO of Raising Literacy Australia (publisher of Fancy Pants via Little Book Press) said it was an incredible honour for the book to be chosen as Storybook Walk’s next sculpture.

“As a not-for-profit children’s literacy organisation, this recognition acknowledges that our picture books are resonating with families and our programs are having an impact with children across South Australia,” she said.

“Dingo and his friends will be in some fine company among so many beloved characters. We are very excited to see them come to life over the next year.”

Storybook Walk was established in 2007 with the support of the Thalassa Park and Gardens Trust. It aims to celebrate and raise the profile of Australian writers and poets and their works, by bringing characters from some of the best-loved children’s books to life.

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