Two ebullient novels from Australia showcase an unusually engaging heroine who has an equally unusual condition: Rowena Batts, the new girl in school, can't speak. As she explains in a letter to her new classmates at the start of Blabber Mouth, ``I was born with some bits missing from my throat. Apart from that, I'm completely normal.'' Longing for a friendly overture and having been humiliated straight away by the class bully, Rowena expects (correctly) that even greater embarrassment awaits her at the hands of her widowed father, an eccentric with a flair for making a spectacle of himself. In the sequel, Sticky Beak, Rowena's kind teacher, Ms. Dunning, has married Rowena's father and is pregnant. Rowena fears she'll be replaced in their affections by a more perfect sibling. Gleitzman (Two Weeks with the Queen) shows his comedic talent in both stories while also conveying Rowena's occasional, wrenching frustrations. Rowena's circumstances may be very particular, but her brio in surmounting an almost universal set of fears should win a wide audience indeed. Ages 8-12. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995 Release date: 05/01/1995 Genre: Children's
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