Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

You Just Can’t Help It!: Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior

Szpirglas, Jeff (Author)
Holinaty, Josh (Illustrator)
Owlkids 2011. 64 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781926818085 (paperback)
9781926818078 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 599.9
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

multigenre, multimodal, structures and features

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Red Maple Award (Non-Fiction) Nominee – 2013

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“Being human is a pretty wild thing.” The author examines humanity from a scientific perspective, the way animal behaviourists do. Using witty, conversational language, fairly dense chapters lead readers through eye-opening facts about ourselves.

Does sadness change the composition of our tears? Does baby poop smell better to Mom? How much eye contact is comfortable—and when does it cross the line? This book sheds light on the chemical, anatomical and behavioural laws that govern our particular species. Comparative information on other animals is offered, as are descriptions of studies and theories—providing models for students to try their own scientific hypotheses and proofs.

Colourful, dynamic spreads are full of images and funny asides. Text is laid out in concise blocks, encouraging readers into the material. Descriptions of scientific studies are presented in comic-style format: “Good research makes me tear up!”

Whether discussing our primordial fight-or-flight response, or our propensity for text-message slang, this book tells us who we are, in high-spirited, youth-friendly terms.

  •  

    Scan the book, paying attention to its text features (table of contents, photos, text boxes, etc.). Discuss how the structure affects how you read the text. Based on the style of the illustrations, do you expect this book to be serious or humorous?

  •  

    As you read, look for opportunities to connect the information with your personal experiences. Record this information in a graphic organizer.

  •  

    In groups, read a chapter and take notes on important facts. Share these facts among different groups.

  •  

    Write five True or False questions based on information in the book. With a partner or group, ask and answer each other’s questions.

  •  

    Scan the book, paying attention to its text features (table of contents, photos, text boxes, etc.). Discuss how the structure affects how you read the text. What can you infer about the style of writing based on the style of the graphics?

  •  

    Find new expressions in the text. Perform one of the experiments through a dramatization.

  •  

    Test some of the facts on classmates and analyze their different reactions. Record your findings in a graphic organizer.

  •  

    In teams of three or four, create a board game that involves questions formed from information in the book.

  •  

    With a partner, list things you think we do as humans because we “just can’t help it.” Scan the chapter titles for more ideas to add to your list.

  •  

    Using only the illustrations as contextual clues in each section, discuss the possible meaning of the images with a partner before writing down some predictions about the content. Listen to the text and revise your predictions, if necessary.

  •  

    Consider the section on birth order or on being an only child. Create a digital infographic poster that presents the researchers’ findings about general characteristics as they compare to yours.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Science and Technology