cover image Carl and the Meaning of Life

Carl and the Meaning of Life

Deborah Freedman. Viking, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-451-47498-8

Freedman introduces Carl by telling readers what he is not: “Carl was not a bird“ (nor a bear, nor a beaver). Carl is an earthworm, and he lives underneath the other forest animals. A cross-section of soil shows Carl next to a curling line of type describing his daily activities: “burrowing, tunneling, digesting dead leaves... turning hard dirt into fluffy soil.” When a field mouse asks him why he does what he does, Carl’s search for answers keeps him away from his work, and the earth dries up around him. “I can’t find any grubs!” cries a ground beetle. With that, Carl understands his purpose. Freedman’s spreads shows how tiny organisms help to keep the natural world in balance in this inventive worm’s-eye view of the web of life. Ages 3–5. [em](Apr.) [/em]