What Floats in a Moat?

( 2 )


A goat and a hen turn a playful exploration of physics into scientific fun that rises to the top!

Archie the Goat has a delivery to make. He has several barrels of buttermilk that the queen needs, but in order to get them to her, he needs to cross the moat.

Testing several different theories to find out what will float and what will sink, Archie and his friend Skinny the Hen don’t succeed at first, but they do try, try, try again (and again). ...

See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$17.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $1.99   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (NOOK Kids Read to Me - No Edition)
BN.com price
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.


A goat and a hen turn a playful exploration of physics into scientific fun that rises to the top!

Archie the Goat has a delivery to make. He has several barrels of buttermilk that the queen needs, but in order to get them to her, he needs to cross the moat.

Testing several different theories to find out what will float and what will sink, Archie and his friend Skinny the Hen don’t succeed at first, but they do try, try, try again (and again). And with reason and persistence, they’ll get that buttermilk where it needs to be!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Archie, a goat, and Skinny, a chicken, are trying to reach a castle. The castle has a moat around it, and Skinny suggests the obvious: “We could just take the drawbridge.” Archie, whose knight’s helmet gives him an air of crusading zeal, has bigger plans. “This is a time for science!” he proclaims. Berry (Ducking for Apples) spins her tale with lighthearted, Gilbert and Sullivan–style patter: “ ‘To cross the moat,’ pronounced the goat, ‘we build a contraption to float!’ ” Experimenting with barrels and different quantities of buttermilk—Skinny reluctantly guzzling the excess—the two discover that a full barrel will sink, an empty barrel will roll, but a boat built from a half-empty barrel (the “S.S. Ballast”) will sail. The process of discovery entertains throughout, aided by Cordell’s (Hello! Hello!) loopy ink-and-wash vignettes, which he enlivens with hand-lettered “klunks” and “splashes.” Incidentally, Berry’s exposition of Archimedean discoveries about the displacement of water gives the scientific process of trial-and-error genuine drama. Mostly, though, it’s a highly enjoyable read-aloud whose characters are both eccentric and loveable. Ages 5–9. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (July)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Well, a barrel, in this zany scientific fairy tale. The hero is Archimedes, a goat in armor; wearing a long green scarf is Skinny the Hen. In order to deliver barrels of buttermilk to the queen's turreted castle, Archie and Skinny must cross a moat. Despite Skinny's repeated suggestion to "take the drawbridge," Archie's determined to build a boat from a barrel. With much clanging and banging, heaving and shoving, they launch their creation. It sinks. Archie, the mad scientist, tries again, but this time Skinny has to drink off the buttermilk. (Skinny is getting rounder.) With more banging and clanging, the new SS Empty floats, but rolls and tips Archie right into the moat. Can they succeed? Has Archie finally discovered the secret? Eureka!—kids can cheer the newest ship, SS Ballast, as she floats serenely under a blue star-sprinkled sky. Archie and the barrel-shaped queen celebrate, but poor Skinny, who is no longer skinny, looks ready to explode. Teachers or parents can explain or demonstrate Archimedes's discovery (displacement of water) to eager readers—if help is needed, Berry has contributed an Author's Note. Reading aloud, an adult will have fun with Berry's rhymes (goat, moat, boat, float), ] both abrupt and intricate, and many moments of assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Cordell's witty ink and watercolor illustrations charm with soft colors and woody browns. Some pages contain small, busy sketches, while others display just one painting; spreads are full of drama. The smooth heavy paper has a lovely feel. Archimedes's tale holds allure for young scientists and artists alike. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Kirkus Reviews
Silly meets science in this title inspired by Archimedes' principle. Archie (get it?) the goat and Skinny the hen need to deliver three barrels of buttermilk to the queen--a pig who looks like she might have come from the pen of Steig himself--in her moated castle. Rejecting the drawbridge in the name of "Science!" they embark on a process of trial and error to float the barrels across the moat. While this may not be much of an elevator pitch, this story sure does make for a terrific picture-book read, due in large part to the hilarity of Cordell's watercolor illustrations embellished with pen and ink. Archie first tries to float on a full barrel of buttermilk, but it sinks. Undeterred, he tells Skinny to drink the buttermilk from the second barrel. She does and, not so skinny any longer, heaves the empty barrel with Archie upon it into the water. This one does float, but unsteadily so. The third try is a charm as Skinny drains just half of its buttermilk, creating a seaworthy vessel. The queen pig is none too pleased to have five-sixths of her buttermilk in either the moat or the hen, but it was all "in the name of science," explains the placid Archie as a bloated Skinny belches her affirmation. A goofy romp that will fit right in with elementary school science lessons. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416997634
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 780,787
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD400L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Berry has published numerous poems in Cricket and Ladybug magazines, and she is the author of the picture books Duck Skates, The Curious Demise of the Contrary Cat, What Floats in a Moat?, and Pig and Pug. Lynne lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Matthew Cordell’s work has appeared in several books, including Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson and Itsy-Bitsy Baby Mouse by Michelle Meadows. He lives with his wife outside of Chicago.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Highly Recommended!

    It's hard to write rhyme, and it's hard to write about science. This book does both well AND combines spunky illustrations and a fun story in the complete package. The rhythm and rhyme make this a fun read aloud.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2013

    WHAT FLOATS IN A MOAT?  OK--this book is flat-out

    <i><b>WHAT FLOATS IN A MOAT?</b></i>
     OK--this book is flat-out funny :) Matthew Cordell's loose, cartoony, comical illustrations match PERFECTLY with Lynne Berry's loose, cartoony, comical story.

    With dappled bits of rhyme, this book of &quot;science&quot; had me smiling from beginning to end and is sure to make any child giggle--a LOT. LOVE this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)