Carl and the Meaning of Life

Carl and the Meaning of Life

by Deborah Freedman


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From the often Caldecott-buzzed Deborah Freedman, a sweet and funny story about finding your place in the world.

Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: "Why?" Carl's quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it's not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451474988
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 96,549
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 510L (what's this?)
Age Range: 3 - 5 Years

About the Author

Deborah Freedman ( is a trained architect who now works as an author/illustrator. She is the author of This House, Once, Shy, By Mouse and Frog, The Story of Fish and Snail, Blue Chicken, and Scribble.

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Carl and the Meaning of Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Poor Carl! Carl was living a happy, content life until one day a field mouse came upon him and asked Carl a question which he didn’t know the answer to. Carl never knew why he did, what he did but now, the question was out there and he needed an answer. Carl talks to many animals as he makes his journey. Crawling over many miles, Carl’s tone begins to change as his journey is beginning to take forever. Everyone that Carl is talking to seems to know their purpose except for Carl. Finally, when Carl hears the cry of a beetle, he gets the answer to his question. I love how the author put this novel together. It’s not a fact-telling story, it’s a story about helping others and being part of a larger picture. It’s about a community, about being needed and how each individual is important. I liked the simplicity of the illustrations. They were beautiful to look at and I enjoyed watching Carl as he traveled over the fields.
JSnia More than 1 year ago
Carl is an earthworm who happily digests, tunnels, burrows, feasts, casts, and digs, turning hard dirt into fluffy soil. One day, a field mouse asks Carl, “Why?” Carl begins a journey to find out. The watercolors and tender illustrations of the animals symbolize the intricate and important connections they have to each other, and to the world. (The cover is even textured so readers can feel the “dirt.”) Ms. Freedman asks the reader, “How do YOU help the earth?” A beautiful story for all ages.