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Escapee wallabies Ant and Dec, from Tiny Steps Petting Farm, near Bourne, star in author’s first children’s book through Pegasus Publishing

A wallaby who made the headlines for its escapology acts from a petting farm has become the star of a children’s book.

Ant the wallaby made good its escape from Tiny Steps Petting Farm in 2022 before returning to rejoin his friend Dec, named after the famous TV double act.

Tiny Steps volunteer Carol Corliss, from Thurlby, has made Ant’s wanderlust the base for her first children’s book – Ant Hops Off.

First-time children's author Carolyn Corliss
First-time children's author Carolyn Corliss

The story was originally designed only for the ears of schoolchildren visiting the Thurlby attraction, but was picked up by Pegasus Publishing and will be released on November 30.

“I came up with an outline in my head, wrote it out for the children and they just loved it. It didn’t need any amendments,” said Carol who also did the illustrations for the book.

“Teachers at the school said ‘you should get this published’ so I sent it off to Pegasus who are one of the bigger publishers.

“If you had said a few years ago I would have a children’s book published, I would have laughed my head off.”

Ant is based on Tiny Steps' 'cheeky' wallaby escapologist
Ant is based on Tiny Steps' 'cheeky' wallaby escapologist

While this is Carol’s first venture into the world of children’s literature, she is no stranger to seeing her words in print, having written extensively about motor racing and specifically historic cars for magazines.

“I did the meet and greet at Tiny Steps and the schoolchildren were coming down in parties and all wanted to hear about Ant,” she added.

“We knew where he went but we don’t know what he got up to.

“I thought let’s make this more interesting so I built up a story about what he might have done and the animals he met on the way. It’s fantasy based on what happened.”

Like Ant, Carol also has an eye for adventure, particularly when it comes to cars.

In 2010 she drove her beloved vintage Alfa Romeo sports car - which she had restored almost half-a-century earlier - to Italy and back in 2010 for an event celebrating the manufacturer’s centenary.

Dec does feature in the book, but his sidekick’s character made him the clear headline act.

“Dec’s the more reserved one, but Ant’s a little devil – a bit naughty and a bit cheeky,” said Carol.

The book is aimed at ages four to eight and is available for pre-order from https://pegasuspublishers.com, Amazon and Waterstones.

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