Who Sank The Boat?

  • Author: Pamela Allen
  • Illustrator: Pamela Allen
  • Year Published: 1982
  • ISBN: 9780698113732

Science Topics

Minimum Suggested Grade Level

Maximum Suggested Grade Level


There are five animal friends who live by the sea that decide to go for a row. They each take turns getting into the boat first the cow, donkey, pig, sheep, and lastly the mouse. They are trying to figure out who sank the boat out of all the five animals on the boat.


  • Appropriateness: High
  • Authority: Medium
  • Accuracy: High
  • Liteary Artistry: High
  • Appearance: High


Does the book foster development of processes?

Yes, the book fosters the development of the processes of observation and prediction. The teacher could ask the students to look at the illustrations on every page and explain what is happening. e.g. Where are the animals going? (To the lake) What are the animals doing? (Getting into a boat) Why are they getting in the boat? (Wanted to go rowing) Children could be asked to predict what they think is going to happen since it is a prediction book.  On every page, there is an opportunity for the children to make predictions. An example question would be, Do you think the (cow, donkey,pig, sheep or mouse) sank the boat? (The mouse sank the boat).

Does the book provide an opportunity for children to ask and answer their own questions?

Yes because it is a prediction book and there are already questions provided to encourage the children to ask their own questions. The children will have the opportunity to look at the illustrations and figure out what is happening and what they might think will happen before reading the text. The students could ask, "Why didn't the cow sink the boat?" They would see that there is still a lot of room left in the boat.

Does the book encourage children to think for themselves?

The encouragement is there because it already provides the children questions to guide their thinking. The questions include, "Do you know who sank the boat?" and "Was it the pig...?". The book has the questions and text on one side and the illustrations on the other side. Although there are questions provided, the students are able to make their own conclusions and what is going to happen next.

Is the science topic addressed in ways that are appropriate to the lesson?

The content is appropriate for the lesson. The reason being is because mass is added onto the boat one animal at a time and has the children wonder what happens next. The children are able to make predictions and see the difference of mass on every page. Before  reading the book, the teacher could list items that either sink or float to make the students have an idea of what those terms mean. This book will provide them with a better idea of what it means to sink or float.

Is the content based on sound scientific principles? Is it accurate?

Yes, the content is based on the sound principles. It shows how objects (animals) could either sink or float a boat. The more mass that is on a boat it makes it sink. It just gives a simple example of what  sinks or floats but does not discuss real life examples and exceptions. Not all boats will sink due to a higher mass like the example of cruise ships and such.

Does the book distinguish between fact and fiction?

This book is fiction due to the characters (animals). Animals will most likely not get into a boat by themselves unless they are domestic pets (dogs or cats). The animals are personified throughout the book. The concept of what sinks and floats is the only fact in the story.

Are the illustrations clear and accurate?

Since this is a fiction book, the illustrations are humorous and are drawn according to real life examples. The characters (animals) are brought to life by having them getting into the boat with two legs at a time. Other than the personified animals, everything else is clear and accurate.

Is the book written at the level of your students?

Yes, this book is an appropriate level for students grades Pre-K through 1s grade. There are some vocabulary words that could be difficult for lower grades like tilted, din, flutter, and lightest. On the other hand, the illustrations could help the students use context clues to figure out what those words mean. The actions are illustrated clearly.

Is there a multicultural component? Is it free from stereotyping?

There is no multicultural component, but it is free from stereotyping because there are no people or cultures represented in the book. Only animals are represented in the book.

Is the book free from gender bias?

Yes, the book is free from gender bias. Although some of animals from the story do have a gender, there isn't any gender bias. All the animals get into the boat and it focuses more on the mass of the animals and not their gender.

Does the book show the close association between science and other disciplines?

There is no connection made between science and the other disciplines. This is due to the focus just being on what sinks or floats on a boat. There isn't any other discipline mentioned besides the setting of a lake, where most children are familiar with.

Does the book present a positive attitude toward science and technology?

Yes because it makes science more fun and engaging. The students are able to read this book and not even think it is science because of the literary content. However, there isn't any technology in the book.