What Floats in a Moat?

Image of What Floats in a Moat?
Release Date: 
July 9, 2013
Simon & Schuster Children
Reviewed by: 

Do you know what floats in a moat? Do not be like Justin, our youngest reviewer, and say “boat” because if you do, you are INCORRECT!

If you have children in your life younger than the projected target age range of five to nine, you can still build lasting memories by reading this book to them. Are you a parent who finds it difficult to get your young ones to bed on time? Have them sit beside you or on your lap and read them this book. Are you an elementary school volunteer who reads books to children? Then add this book to your list. You’ll not regret it.

What Floats in a Moat? was reviewed by our acclaimed panel of children’s book experts. Justin at two and a half, also known for his mischievousness, is the youngest. Erica, the little princess, is five years old. Justin calls the oldest member of the crew a “scallywag”—he’s listened to stories about Captain Hook a few too many times. Erica simply calls him Papa Bear. His age is . . . er . . . ah . . . well that is just a little too much information.

There are two main characters in this story. Archie, short for Archimedes, is a goat and the primary scientist. Skinny, the hen, is his companion scientist. She has just a little too much commonsense for Archie—but you’ll just have to read the book to figure out what we mean by that.

The scientific problem confronting Archie is this: The queen has ordered three big barrels of buttermilk. Archie is given the task of finding, buying, transporting, and getting the buttermilk into the queen’s castle. Archie and Skinny accomplish the first three tasks with little difficulty. The last two are not as easy.

We’ll not spoil the story for you by saying anything else other than to mention that the solution calls for some fun science. Yes, science!

The first reading of the book occurred on a Friday evening just before bedtime. It was followed by ice cream, brushing of teeth, and a jump into bed followed by silence. Papa Bear wonders if they were dreaming about Archie, Skinny, and science. They won’t tell.

Saturday morning began with the two of them hopping out of bed, running to get the book, and a demand that Papa Bear read it to them again before breakfast. This should tell you something. It now occupies a place of honor on the bookshelf.

Although the recommended age range is five to nine, do not be concerned about reading the book to younger children. Justin loves Archie! Erica was most interested in the scientific aspects.

The illustrator, Matthew Cordell, is a children’s book author in his own right. His illustrations in this book are superb, each one fitting the narrative quite well. He does an outstanding job.

Together Lynne Berry and Matthew Cordell make a great team.

There is but one criticism, and it is a minor one. The names attributed to the floating “things” somewhat upset the rhythm of the narrative.

This acclaimed panel of judges gives this boom five stars and six thumbs up. Remember each panelist has two thumbs so 2 x 3 = 6. Ya just can’t get any better than that!

Grandparents, do you want to create memories with your young ’uns? Why not surprise them with this book? They’ll love you for it. Parents, help develop your young children’s vocabulary while learning that science can be fun. If you do volunteer work at your local elementary school by reading books to children, read What Floats in a Moat? and watch the excitement on their faces.

And do not forget to explain some of the more complex concepts in this story. Knowing and understanding them will help the youngsters appreciate the book even more.

Lynne Berry is a noted children’s book author. What Floats in a Moat? is her latest. We want to review the next one too. Hint. Hint.