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A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch


By Janet Halfmann

Illustrated by Abira Das

Pen It Publications

Ages 3-8, Fiction Picture Book, hardcover & softcover

Buy this book at Pen It Publications, your favorite indie bookseller, Bookshop, or





The Story

Joey, a little gray kangaroo, can't seem to find his mum's pouch in a mob. But he comes up with a creative plan, and all his Australian animal friends pitch in to help. Will he find the right pouch when danger strikes?

My Inspiration

I wrote this book because I have long been fascinated by kangaroos, so I researched  them in hopes of coming up with a fun story. Two facts inspired this story: that baby kangaroos sometimes leap for the wrong pouch, and that kangaroo moms give their joeys lessons in getting into the the pouch quickly when danger strikes.


Kangaroo mums and joeys have a very close relationship, so I tried to show that in the story as well, along with the fascinating animals that share the kangaroos' home in Australia.

Educational Connections

The book's back matter includes Fun Kangaroo Facts and Glossaries of Australian Words and Australian Animals and Plants. The story spotlights friendship, a close mother-child bond, problem solving, creativity, and the plants and animals of eastern Australia. 

Teaching Ideas from Katie Reviews Books


Writers@Work: The Power of Persistence—An Interview with Janet Halfmann by Rochelle Melander


"Fun, informative, and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library." —The Midwest Book Review: The Pets/Wildlife Shelf


"In this story of creativity and friendship for little readers, nature and science facts are presented in digestible bites, including fun word play and Australian slang . . . . The text and images together will have little ones drawing pictures and searching out new details about the amazing natural world "down under.". . . (The book) is bound to become a favorite for kids who love animals, especially Australian ones." —Unpacking the Power of Picture Books 

"Who knew that kangaroo mothers actually give their joeys (babies) lessons in diving quickly into her pouch so they can be safe when danger is near? I certainly didn't. And that's the unique aspect of this story. Readers of all ages will learn about interesting animals many have never heard of. And interesting facts about them . . . . The illustrations, by Abira Das, are playful and will definitely engage the young child. Teachers . . . should consider adding this title to their classroom library." —golowd: a blog about teaching and writing

'"A fictional story about a young kangaroo who cannot always find his mom once he leaves her pouch (which actually happens!), A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch! is about reslience, the power of a community, and creativity! . . . New and fresh, this story . . . is sure to entertain younger students and will make a fun read-aloud!—Katie Reviews Books

"By now you know I am a fan of Halfmann's work. All her books entertain and educate in a way that is attractive to young readers. This short story is one that teaches children how to problem-solve and work together to obtain a goal. It is a story about friendship in the wild that touches the heart, even though it is a whimsical story.

The colorful artwork by Abira Das will keep readers turning the pages as much as the story. Lush green, vibrant red, and deep blue contrast so well against the white space and neutral colors of most of the animals." The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

"This colorfully illustrated fun read for little listeners and beginner readers shares family and friendship. The back pages are host to fun facts and other cool information about the Australian gray kangaroo, fun Australian words and plants." 

—Kristi's Book Nook

"Ever wanted to visit Australia? Now you can travel in your imagination." —Wrapped in Foil

A Bobby Dazzler cover.jpg
Joey diving for male.jpg
Joey and Willy Wagtail.jpg


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