What Floats in a Moat?

( 2 )

Overview

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). ...

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Overview

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!

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416997634
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 293,228
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Berry is the author of The Curious Demise of the Contrary Cat and What Floats in a Moat? She lives with her husband and assorted pets 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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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.

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  • 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
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