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The Good Egg

by Pete Oswald and Jory John

Summary

The Good Egg explores the importance of self care and self love for people who wish to do good.

The Good Egg introduces us to the Good Egg, an egg who is always good. He rescues cats, helps people with their groceries, paints your house, and cleans your mess. It’s always been this way, he tells us. The Good Egg used to live in a carton with his other 11 other egg friends, but they were not as good as him. The Good Egg starts feeling the pressure of always being the good one, of being the only one responsible for the carton and he starts to crack (literally!). The Good Egg then decides to take some time for himself: he takes walks, paints, and focuses on doing what he wants. Through this journey, the Good Egg learns to be good to himself as well. The Good Egg eventually returns to his old carton, is reunited with all his friends, and is now armed with the knowledge that he does not have to be perfect to be good and that his goodness should extend to himself as well.

Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion

Overview

The Good Egg repeatedly ignores his own well-being for the sake of others. He does good deeds for different characters, but the pressure of taking responsibility for everyone’s mistakes damages his well-being. As they grow up in a rather unforgiving world, many children will feel burdened by their own altruism; they are encouraged to consider an appropriate balance between self-care and caring for others.

Care for Others by Caring for Yourself

The Good Egg takes responsibility for others such that he completely abandons his personal welfare. He takes on tasks that other eggs should be taking on. You can discuss with your students whether or not it is truly good to take responsibility for others if it means you are miserable. You can also discuss whether or not taking responsibility for everyone’s mistakes will prevent them from learning and growing. In an educational environment marked by increasing academic and social competition, many students will seek to distinguish themselves by taking charge in group settings. The Good Egg invites children to imagine the consequences of constantly cleaning up others’ problems; the cracks in the egg’s shell suggest that it may not have been worth it to be so completely selfless, since he has to take time away from the carton to heal himself. The egg needs to find a balance that is healthy for him. Children will consider different scenarios where it is or is not appropriate to take responsibility for the mistakes of others (evaluating these scenarios as exemplified in the story) and think about how to properly balance one’s physical and mental health with acts of generosity.

Questions for Philosophical Discussion

Questions to ask before reading

  1. What do we think the book is about?
  2. What does it mean to be good? Should you be good all the time?

Questions you might ask before facilitating a discussion

  1. Was the egg being good and helpful towards himself?
  2. Was it important for the carton to have a good egg?
  3. Why do you think the Good Egg was good? Is it valuable to be good? What if being good hurts you as it did the Good Egg?

Ethics of goodness

  1. Is it important to be good? Why?
  2. Why do we do good? (To help others? To feel good about ourselves? Because we have to?)
  3. Should we be good for others or for ourselves?
  4. Is being good for others the same as being good for yourself? How is it different or similar?
  5. Should all of us be good all of the time?
  6. What if being good hurts us? Should we still be good?
  7. What does goodness look like? Does the egg getting hurt mean that being good is bad?
  8. Should the egg keep being good, even if it hurts him?

Responsibility

  1.  Was it the good egg’s responsibility to fix the other egg’s mistakes?
  2. Does trying to take responsibility for others’ mistakes hurt the egg?
  3. Is it better to be responsible for everyone’s mistakes and clean them up or should people take responsibility for their own mistakes?
  4. Does everyone have the ability to help others clean up their mistakes?
  5. Can and should everybody take responsibility for their own mistakes?
  6. What is the difference between making sure someone takes responsibility for their mistakes, and taking responsibility for them yourself? What do you have to do to make sure someone fixes their mistake without fixing it for them? Do you sometimes have to show them how to do it?

Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our Resources page.

Download & Print Email Book Module Back to All Books
Back to All Books Cover illustration for Jory John and Pete Oswald's book The Good Egg featuring a color illustration of an egg with glasses standing atop and egg carton surrounded by food. Download & Print Email Book Module

About the Prindle Institute

As one of the largest collegiate ethics institutes in the country, the Prindle Institute for Ethics’ uniquely robust national outreach mission serves DePauw students, faculty and staff; academics and scholars throughout the United States and in the international community; life-long learners; and the Greencastle community in a variety of ways. In 2019, the Prindle Institute partrnered with Thomas Wartenberg and became the digital home of his Teaching Children Philosophy discussion guides.

Further Resources

Some of the books on this site may contain characterizations or illustrations that are culturally insensitive or inaccurate. We encourage educators to visit the Association for Library Service to Children’s resource guide for talking to children about issues of race and culture in literature. They also have a guide for navigating tough conversations.  PBS Kids’ set of resources for talking to young children about race and racism might also be useful for educators.

Philosophy often deals with big questions like the existence of a higher power or death. Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our resources page.

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