They Just Know: Animal Instincts

Science Books and Films Best Books for 2016 Selection

Kirkus Reviews - July 2015

"Drawing a line between human and animal behaviors, this debut from Yardi teaches children about instinctual behaviors."

"Alternating double-page spreads first show anthropomorphized animals "learning" how to do something and then the reality: spring peeper tadpoles don't get lessons in leaping at school, and no one has to teach them their iconic song. A turn of the page reveals: "Mother peepers lay a lot of lovely eggs and hop away. Little tadpoles just know what to do, all on their own." Klein"s artwork is the real draw, though. The anthropomorphized scenes will certainly elicit chuckles from both adult and child readers: a mother sea turtle rocking her baby in a cradle, a baby kingsnake coiled round a teddy bear, a horn shark in a highchair, tiny tadpoles wearing backpacks. Turns of the pages reveal realistic scenes of the animals in their natural habitats. And the final message-animals don't need toys, help, or hugs, "but you do!"-is one every child will relish hearing. The "For Creative Minds" section in the backmatter delineates instinctual vs. learned behaviors and gives children a chance to determine which are which. A double-page spread then talks about life cycles and metamorphosis and asks readers to match adults and their young."

"The dichotomy between the anthropomorphized scenes and the realistic ones artfully highlights the divide between the animal world and the human one."

The Florida Times Union - January 2016

Children often ask questions that fall into what adults refer to the "why the sky is blue" category. How does a bat find its way back home? What makes thunder sound so loud? Do fish ever sleep? If the little nature-lover that you know reels off these questions and more, consider reading "They Just Know." Each double-page spread highlights one of Mother Nature's wonders and offers several facts and a bit of witty wordplay, too...Though the words for this book are strong, the illustrations dominate readers’ attention. Laurie Allen Klein of St. Augustine created them.

Children's Literature

This colorful book for early elementary readers aims to explain instincts in animal versus learned behaviors in humans. Butterflies, horn sharks, ladybugs, frogs, sea turtles, and king snakes are used as examples to illustrate their abilities to negotiate life without being taught by their mother or father right from birth. Each creatures is highlighted by first portraying it in an activity that children might experience, such as setting at a table, eating, or learning in school, in a comical manner. Then on the next page the creature is shown in their own habitat eating or flying or morphing from one stage to the next or learning to swim-all automatically done without being taught by anyone. Since the make-believe version of animal behavior versus the real behavior or instinct as that could be confusing to youngsters, adults will need to provide an explanation. The layout and bold illustrations add appeal for early readers. There are plenty of add-ons, such as further information for adults, questions about what was read, an activity for parents and children, illustrations of life cycles of some of the creatures featured in the text and more online information in English and Spanish. This is a book to be read more than once as the concept of instinctual behaviors is complex.

Horn Book Guide - April 2016

This introduction to unlearned animal behaviors explains (somewhat simplistically) that baby animals "just know" how to find food, fly, and swim on their own. Tongue-in-cheek illustrations dramatize the textual comparisons between animal babies and their needier human counterparts ("No one reminds a caterpillar to eat her leaves"). End pages expand on the story with additional information and activities for concept reinforcement.

Kids Book Buzz

"This book was very interesting because I never thought about the fact that animals do not have parents or teachers helping them or teaching them, like us kids."

Outnumbered 3 to 1

"Sometimes young animals learn things from their parents, but other times... they just know! Explore animal instincts through engaging text and cute illustrations. My youngest particularly likes this one!"

Heck of a Bunch - September 2015

"Isn't it amazing how some critters and creatures do things by instinct? For instance, a horn shark knows to stay in the shallow end until it can swim. It wasn't taught that behavior; Rather, it already instinctively knows. They Just Know: Animal Instincts tells of some animal and insect behavior that is done based on instinct. The illustrations are done in an adorable tongue in cheek fashion."

Archimedes Notebook

"Using simple text, the author helps children understand what instinct is. More challenging information about instinct versus learned behaviors is included in the back matter, along with a quiz about behaviors: learned or instinct?"

Chat with Vera - January 2016

Arbordale provides great little books packed with real information with a story line that entertains and educates. in They Just Know: Animal Instincts the author and illustrator have presented the truth of how animals do the things they do without having any "lessons." They just know is all about instincts each animal has and how these animal instincts do not occur in children but must be learned.

As the illustrator creates scenes throughout the book, she uses realistic illustrations showing creatures naturally and realistically. By the same token she switches to fantasizing the creatures in humorous situations and scenes. You'll get a laugh or chuckle out of some of these bits. I just love the illustrations!

Children's Literature Review, University of Dayton SEHS

A cute way of getting students attention with illustrations and animals/insects acting like humans.

Puget Sound Council For the Review of Children's Media

...This is an interesting, kid-friendly look at animal instinct. The author's bringing in things that humans would do to babies personalizes it, and makes the final picture of a loving mother with a baby particularly poignant. Laurie Allen Klein's soft illustrations show reality and humorous anthropomorphizing, which opens the book up to a nice fact/fiction discussion.

Good Reads with Ronna - June 2016

"Kids are curious. They wonder about everything they see in nature, especially about living creatures. So if your child has ever asked you how animals know what to do in any given situation, it’s the perfect time to introduce the concepts of instinct and learned behaviors with They Just Know: Animal Instincts, a terrific nonfiction picture book. When those questions start you’ll definitely want to have a copy of this helpful resource on hand not just for your kids but as a refresher for you parents and caregivers...Make sure to spend some time reading They Just Know: Animal Instincts before your next visit to the aquarium or zoo and I’m sure some enjoyable and entertaining discussions are bound to happen."