University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: The Hermit Crab by Carter Goodrich

Field of Philosophy: Ethics; Metaphysics

Plot Summary: A shy hermit crab discovers a beautiful new shell – actually the upper half a super hero toy – for his home. Wearing it, he inadvertently saves a flounder from beneath a lobster trap. The lobster and all the local fish sing the praises of the mysterious new hero, while he cowers quietly inside. When they finally fall asleep, he slips out, happy to return to his old home.

Some discussion questions:

Is the hermit crab a hero?
Is he responsible for saving the flounder, even if he didn’t mean to?
Do we sometimes get credit for doing things that are really more lucky than intended?
Should we?
Are we only responsible for the things that we control, or can we be responsible for other things as well?
Do heroes always want to be recognized for their brave acts, or do some heroes prefer to remain unknown? Why would they prefer that?
Can you be a hero without knowing that you are one? How?
The hermit crab was shy and quiet inside even though he appeared to be a strong brave hero to others. Do our outer appearances sometimes not match our inner feelings? Why/why not?