Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6In this sequel to Blabber Mouth (Harcourt, 1995), readers are reunited with rambunctious Rowena, who still communicates with flair despite being aphasic. As usual, she's in trouble. At a going-away party for her pregnant teacher, who is also her stepmother, she tosses a huge bowl of Jelly Custard Surprise over the guests. Everyone thinks it was a clumsy accident, but Rowena confides to her best friend that she threw the dessert on purpose, although she isn't sure why. Soon afterwards she rescues a mistreated cockatoo from the class cut-up, Darryn. This is where the plot takes a wide turn and nearly derails, as Gleitzman tries to draw a somewhat far-fetched and convoluted parallel between Rowena's fear of being replaced by a sibling who can speak and Darryn's wish to get rid of his pet because it doesn't talk. All gets back on track, though, as Rowena pursues this possibility with a zany plan that includes testing her father's love, rehabilitating Darryn, and mending fences with the disgruntled party guests. The satisfying conclusion reassures readers that, for the moment, Rowena is ready to take a place in her new family as daughter and big sister. Although sibling competition is explored in numerous other titles, Gleitzman provides a unique model of a youngster facing daily challenges with humor and determination.Sarabeth Kalajian, Venice Public Library, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4-6. This second book about Rowena Batts, a resilient Australian preteen whose life is made more complicated by her exuberant father's singing in public than by her own muteness from birth, has a more obvious plot line than Blabber Mouth. Readers will know that Rowena is upset about the birth of a new sibling long before she does. Once again, however, humor is central to the story. When Rowena throws a sticky pink dessert into a fan during a school party, the descriptions of pineapple dripping off the principal's head are of much more interest than the family dynamics. The title refers to a foulmouthed, destructive cockatoo that Rowena rescues from a classmate. Happily, she does not simply turn the bird into a model citizen but instead comes to understand what the bird meant to its previous owner, her classroom nemesis, Darryn Peck. (Reviewed June 1 & 15, 1995)0152003665Mary Harris Veeder
Horn Book Review
In this sequel to 'Blabber Mouth' (Harcourt), published simultaneously, a young girl who is mute befriends an abandoned cockatoo whose owner, she believes, has replaced it with a more lovable pet. Ro worries that she, too, will be rejected -- by her father and stepmother -- and replaced with their baby. An Australian counterpart of Lois Lowry's Anastasia, Rowena Batts will engender both sympathy and laughter. From HORN BOOK 1995, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A rare bird indeed--a sequel that is actually more enjoyable than its predecessor. Feisty, mute Rowena is a year older than she was in Blabber Mouth (see above). Her father has married her teacher, and they are expecting a baby. Ro is worried that when the baby is born, not mute, her father won't be interested in her anymore. When the bully Darryn abandons his silent pet cockatoo in favor of a poodle that barks all the time, Ro senses a kindred spirit and adopts the bird. As it turns out, this foul-tempered fowl can talk, with a vocabulary to match his temper. Rowena's vibrant personality and knack for finding trouble are even funnier this time around. Whether she's making a video on pet abuse, trying to enter Darryn in a dog show, or throwing a bowl of custard into an electric fan during a party, Ro succintly makes her thoughts and feelings known. (Fiction. 8-12)