Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Who Sank the Boat?” as Want to Read:
Who Sank the Boat?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Who Sank the Boat?

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,644 ratings  ·  142 reviews
A charmingly funny read-aloud that asks an important question: Who sank the boat?

Beside the sea, there once lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse. They were good friends, and one warm, sunny morning, for no particular reason, they decided to go for a row in the bay. Do you know who sank the boat?

"The idea is funny, the pictures are splendid, and t
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 16th 1996 by Puffin Books (first published 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Who Sank the Boat?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Who Sank the Boat?

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,644 ratings  ·  142 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Who Sank the Boat?
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indy
Indy loved reading this at grandma's. who sank the boat? Was it big fat donkey? The cheeky pig? The knitting sheep? A fun shorty easy read. ...more
Shirley Revill
A great favourite on my bookshelf.
Les Wilson
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
A lovely little book for our family read.
Sally Todd
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Who sank the boat, is one of my personal all-time favourite children’s book. The book tells the story of a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and tiny little mouse who decide to go for a row in the bay. The end question being, who sank the boat? This book is illustrated beautifully throughout the story and allows children to make predictions on who they believe sank the boat. The book also uses poetry which I found to really engage the children and this gives the book a unique edge. I would highly re ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
My son picked this out telling me his teacher reads it. He's developing a real passion for reading which makes me very happy. I have to say though, this did very little for me. The story is engaging enough but I really disliked the visual style - the animals look grotesque. I can see why it's a classic but I like my illustrated books to have more style. I did quite like that final page though. ...more
Jennifer McCallum
A fun book that offers the chance for interaction. The reader is periodically asked questions about who sunk the boat. Could be used as a reading book in ks1 or even to help teach balance in maths as the weight of the donkey balances that of the cow.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A throwback to my childhood I now get to read to my daughter.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, reviewed
The iceberg sank the boat
Natalie Moore
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sage
You had to see that coming...
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Who Sank thee Boat?" by Pamela Allen is a creative children's book that relates the tale of a cow, a horse, a pig, a sheep, and a mouse and their simple journey of getting into a rowboat. However, as the title indicates, something goes wrong, and the boat sinks. The enjoyment of reading mainly comes from seeing the story unfold as first the cow, then the horse and the rest of the animals precariously perch on the small craft. Obviously, as the mouse mounts, the ship sinks. Full of fun illustrat ...more
Book 2, Day 2 - Mini Family Classics from News Limited.

First published in 1982.
32 pages
Pamela Allen is both author and illustrator.

"Who Sank the Boat" won the Gaelyn Gordon Award in 2001, an annual award for a work of fiction by a living author, that is still in print, and is "generally recongnised as a successful, enduring children's book". Pamela Allen herself received the Margaret Mahy Award in 2004 as "a person who has made a significant contribution to the broad field of children's literatu
Sue Winson
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This classic story, retold and illustrated by Pamela Allen, really cracked me up. Maybe I'm losing it in my older years. The story is about animal friends who decide to go on a row in the lake on a nice day. But they're all so chubby!! Then they squeeze themselves one by one into this ridiculously small rowboat to try to take a row, and of course the boat sinks. There's repetition in the asking of "who sank the boat?" After the first three readings, my little guy loved shouting "NOOOO!" to the q ...more
Sally Edsall
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely illustrations, and a good text, which has some good rhymes. A reading aloud book, definitely, as some of the words are hard for beginning readers, while the story-line is suitable for younger readers. As for science, it is worthwhile building up the picture that everyone sitting in the boat contributes to its sinking. Eventually, the cry goes up that "Everyone did!" in reponse to the question "Who sank the boat?"
Pamela Allen also wrote "Mr Archimedes Bath" which is a terrific exploration
Lynn Plourde
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebook
Our kids enjoyed this book and now our grandson enjoys this book. We always use WHO SANK THE BOAT? as a springboard to do a sink/float experiment . . . seeing which household objects will sink or float in a dishpan filled with water making predictions each time and talking about our conclusions (i.e. plastic & wooden things float unless they have holes in them; metal things, marbles sink). Fun!
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Miss 3 and I like to explore different books and authors at the library, sometimes around particular topics or themes. We try to get different ones out every week or so; it's fun for both of us to have the variety and to look at a mix of new & favourite authors. This one was ok.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young children
Shelves: bean

A classic. A clever way of showing younger readers that sometimes there's no single cause when something goes wrong.

The smallest person of the household thought the mouse's contribution to be hilarious.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Five animals attempt to get into one small row boat. But which animal actually sank the boat? Kids will start predicting from page one! A great way to open up conversations about the thinking process.
Jason Pym
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I think this one is considered a classic, and it's fine, the kids all laughed when the little mouse sank the boat at the end. But it's wordy with awkward rhymes, I'm not a huge fan of the illustrations, and reading it more than once is a chore. ...more
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
This ones great for the younger kids ! Lots of fun and an underlying message of science and mathematical concepts (weight and floatation )
Beautifully illustrated and one I remember even from
My Own childhood !
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story my children enjoy over and over again.
Ahmer Iqbal Siddiqui
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chrissy Byers
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great title by Pamela Allen
Samantha Fleming
Quite a good book with good illustrations. And the tale was excellent. I just wish the ending on who sank the boat was a little better.
Lynn  Davidson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Five friends decide to go for a row in a boat. They each get in - and that part is told in rhyme - almost sinking the boat ... until one friend does! Wonderful illustrations.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an all time favourite - have read it many times. Lovely to share it now with my little granddaughters.
Keely DeRiggs
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rhyming
I loved the theme of this book. I also loved that after all the animals got into the boat, it was the lightest animal of all who sank it.
Erin Benjamin
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Our family are huge. So it’s lovely to
See a mouse be the one that causes the disaster 🤣😂🤣
Freddie D
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rhyme, classic, australian
An Australian classic. The ending never gets old!
Lisa Henderson
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love the complexity of the character relationships in this book. Just when you think the question of “who sank the boat?” is rhetoric, the story ends and the reader feels satisfied (somewhat).
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wombat Stew
  • Where Is the Green Sheep?
  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
  • Diary of a Wombat
  • Possum Magic
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
  • Where's Spot?
  • Edward the Emu
  • Pig the Pug
  • Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
  • The Eleventh Hour
  • Hairy Maclary's Bone
  • Animalia
  • Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas
  • Koala Lou
  • The Magic Pudding
  • There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake
  • Each Peach Pear Plum
See similar books…
Pamela Allen, born in April 1934, in Devonport, New Zealand[1] is a children's writer and illustrator. She has published over 30 picture books since 1980, when she moved to Australia. Eight of her books have been adapted for the stage by The Patch Theatre Company and performed at the Sydney Opera House. Pamela currently lives in Auckland.


News & Interviews

  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
15 likes · 2 comments