Earthworm Carl works busily underground, burrowing, eating, and depositing soil-enriching castings—until a field mouse asks, “Why?”
Carl suspends his usual activities to find out, querying a rabbit, fox, squirrel, and many others until, over time, these very creatures are compelled to travel away for sustenance. When a ground beetle despairs, “I can’t find any grubs!” Carl realizes that the soil he has neglected has become hard-packed dirt. Suddenly, his purpose is clear. “For hours into days, weeks into months, Carl munched, digested, left castings, and tunneled…and turned that hard dirt back into rich soil.” The returning animals appreciate the results: sprouting seeds, blossoming clover, and an integrated ecosystem made possible by earthworms like Carl. Freedman’s digitally assembled watercolors feature washes of green, yellow, ocher, and brown. She augments her speaking cast of woodland animals with additional small creatures for children to discover. A brief but pithy author’s note celebrates the interconnectedness of all creatures, including the reader. A quote from Darwin on the importance of the earthworm completes the package.
A pleasant, simplified examination of the significance of the lowly earthworm, just in time for garden encounters. (Picture book. 3-7)