Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Pamela Allen, Mr Archimedes’ Bath. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1980, 32 pp.
1980 - NSW Premier’s Literary Awards - Ethel Turner Prize
Instructional and educational work
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Miriam Riverlea, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Nkemleke, Université Yaounde 1, email@example.com
, b. 1934
Pamela Allen was born in Devonport, in Auckland, New Zealand in 1934. She moved to Australia with her painter husband in 1980, and returned to Auckland over thirty years later. She trained as a fine artist at the Elam School of Arts, in New Zealand. Her first picture book was Mr Archimedes’ Bath, the first of a series of picture books about aspects of water displacement theory (Who Sank The Boat? and Alexander’s Outing followed soon after). Allen has built a distinguished career as a writer and illustrator of picture books. She has received numerous awards, for individual books, including several Book of the Year Awards from the Children’s Book Council of Australia, two New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, and the Margaret Mahy Medal, New Zealand’s most prestigious award for children’s literature.
Profile at the bookcouncil.org.nz (accessed: June 3, 2018).
Profile at the thelittlebigbookclub.com.au (accessed: June 3, 2018).
Profile at the storylines.org.nz (accessed: June 3, 2018).
Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
A humorous picture book about the principle of water displacement discovered by the Greek mathematician, Archimedes. In this book, ‘Mr Archimedes’ shares his bath with three animals: a goat, a wombat, and a kangaroo. Trial and error in the bath (in which each animal is ‘blamed’ in turn for taking up too much room) show the principles of displacement in action. Finally, Mr Archimedes shouts ‘Eureka!’ and explains to the animals that they are all making the water go up and down. Illustrations are pen-and-ink line drawings, with cross-hatching and watercolour shading.
Mr Archimedes’ Bath is a lightly handled picture book about the scientific principle of water displacement, as discovered by Archimedes. The setting is quasi-modern (the bath appears to have plumbing; Mr Archimedes wears trousers and a shirt), and the inclusion of two Australian animals (kangaroo and wombat) show the interaction of ancient Greek ideas with a modern setting. The playful retelling of Archimedes’ discovery using Australian animal friends, mimics a child’s bathtime with toy animals, and a certain amount of spilled water. Mr Archimedes’ cry of ‘Eureka!’ precipitates the discovery that the principle is the same regardless of who is in the bath.