2020 Reviews · children · juvenile

Children’s Book Review: Mr Archimedes’ Bath by Pamela Allen

Title: Mr Archimedes’ Bathmr archimedes bath small

Author/Illustrator: Pamela Allen

Published: January 20th 2020

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages: 32

Genres:  Children (0+)

RRP: $24.99

Revisit an age-old theory in a fresh new way.

Every time Mr Archimedes has a bath with his friends, the water overflows. Somebody must be putting extra water in the bath. Is it Kangaroo? Or is it Goat or Wombat?Whoever it is, Mr Archimedes is going to find out.


‘Mr Archimedes’ bath always overflowed

And Mr Archimedes always had to clean up the mess.

Can anyone tell me where all this water came from?’

First published in 1980, Mr Archimedes’ Bath has seen many reprints in is day and it now celebrates 40 years of entertaining young readers. A humorous story of a man, a bathtub and whole lot of animals, this is a classic story book that should be on the shelves of all homes, schools and libraries.

Mr Archimedes’ Bath presents a fun way to test an age old theory. Employing the use of a gaggle of animals, Mr Archimedes examines what happens when you have a group of friends all using the same bathtub. What does the water do? Does it stay at the same level, or does it overflow? Mr Archimedes scratches his head and considers if it could be a particular animal friend causing the extra water to appear. Either, way Mr Archimedes is the man for the job and he is going to do all he can to solve this extraordinary problem!

Mr Archimedes’ Bath has been a firm fixture in my reading life for many years. First as a child, I recall being introduced to this book in primary school. It produced a sense of wonderment and inquiry in me as a young student. Then, in my later life as a teacher and mother of two children, I have been able to share this book in a different way. I do believe Mr Archimedes’ Bath is a staple text, it is one  classic tale that should be enjoyed across many stages, whether it be in the home, school, daycare centre or library. There is a place for this very original story!

Mr Archimedes is definitely a bumbling character, full of quirk, who possess an inquisitive nature. I also loved the animals that support Mr Archimedes on his scientific bathtub journey. I especially liked the placement of the Australian animals in this text, such as the kangaroo character and the wombat.

From a teaching point of view, I could see Mr Archimedes’ Bath slotting easily into the science and mathematics categories. In science, there is an opportunity to discuss and even test the Archimedes principle. In mathematics, students could be directed towards the measurement strands of weight, mass, volume and capacity. It is great to have a book such as Mr Archimedes’ Bath as a stimulus.

Mr Archimedes’ Bath represents the first book that Pamela Allen both wrote and illustrated. Allen had the idea of penning a children’s picture book around the common and everyday practice of bath time for young children. She was able to produce a story around the displacement of water. Allen poses the central question of, where does all the water come from? With the Australian animals supporting Mr Archimedes on his water quest, the story was complete. It seems to have been a favourite across four decades and it has been also  been recognised by The Children’s Book Council Awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

If you haven’t been introduced to Mr Archimedes’ Bath, a time honoured picture book, do add it to your resource list, it is a book that could be utilised in any setting.

Mr Archimedes’ Bath by Pamela Allen was published on 20th January 2020 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

*I wish to thank Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.


8 thoughts on “Children’s Book Review: Mr Archimedes’ Bath by Pamela Allen

    1. Wow, that’s surprising, I have many of Pamela’s book in my school book collection but I’ve also read her books to my boys. I can’t believe her first book is almost as old as me lol!


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