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Children's Nonfiction General

You Just Can't Help It!

Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior

by (author) Jeff Szpirglas

illustrated by Josh Holinaty

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
General, Anatomy & Physiology
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 6
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Do you know why your nostrils flare when you’re scared? It’s easier to laugh with other people around? You might feel uncomfortable in a crowded elevator? The thing is, you just can’t help yourself — you’re only human! Part Desmond Morris’s The Naked Ape, part MAD Magazine, and all Jeff Szpirglas, this unique book provides a cultural, historical, and socio-biological perspective on human behavior. From an exploration of how senses affect behavior, to our actions and reactions, verbal and non-verbal communication, and the ways we socially interact, You Just Can’t Help It! delves into our basic human biology, and how that manifests in our actions. Whether kids are reading about body language, birth order, fear, laughter, crowd behavior, sniffing smelly diapers, yawning, dreaming, or lying, they are seeing science in action. And Szpirglas’s goofy, kid-friendly sensibility paired with the book’s look, energy, and scope is guaranteed to engage and captivate young readers.

About the authors



JEFF SZPIRGLAS is the author of multiple books in the Countdown to Danger series. In addition to his choose-your-own-path titles, Jeff has written award-nominated non-fiction books and several terrifying novels and horror collections for middle-grade readers, including Tales from the Fringes of Fear and Tales from Beyond the Brain. With his wife, Danielle Saint-Onge, he is the co-author of the Orca Echoes books X Marks the Spot!, Something's Fishy and Messy Miranda. He's worked at CTV Television and was an editor at Chirp, chickaDEE and Owl magazines. He has twin children, two cats (the cats are not twins) and one dog. In his spare time, he teaches elementary school. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Visit him online at


Jeff Szpirglas' profile page


Josh Holinaty détient un diplôme du Alberta College of Art & Design. Il a illustré de nombreux livres et ses illustrations ont été publiées entre autres dans Wired, The New York Times et The Walrus. Josh a grandi en Alberta avec ses frères et soeurs qui essayaient toujours de lui prendre ses croustilles. Maintenant, il vit à Toronto, en Ontario, où il peut [enfin] manger ses croustilles en paix.


Josh Holinaty graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design and has created illustrations for clients such as The New York Times, Wired, and The Walrus. Josh is also the illustrator of A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars and It's Catching. Originally from Alberta, he now lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Josh Holinaty's profile page


  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association, Red Maple Award
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Starred Selection
  • Winner, Ontario Library Association, Top 10 Canadian Children's Books, Best Bets List

Editorial Reviews

A fun way to introduce readers to many aspects of human behavior, and may whet their appetites to explore some of the topics in greater depth.

Quill & Quire

My impression of this book is awesome, and I give it a 9 out of a score of 10.

Yes Mag

With a breezy text supported by a lively design, [Jeff Szpirglas] again presents science in a way certain to attract middle-grade and middle-school readers…Popular science through and through, you can’t help enjoying this.

Kirkus Reviews

A surprising amount of information is conveyed in these snazzy trivia snippets, which are likely to illicit both numerous 'eews' and 'cools,' all in one satisfied breath.

School Library Journal

This presentation of information encourages questioning and fact-finding which can lead to interesting projects.

Canadian Teacher

a great browsing read...

Shelf Candy Blog

Energetic, educational, and fun.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

Librarian Reviews

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

This unique book provides a cultural, historical and socio-biological perspective on human behaviour, synthesizing several branches of science — from anthropology to zoology — along the way. Think of it as your official guide to all the wild and wacky things you do. Szpirglas tells us the things we do as individuals and as part of society can all be explained by science.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

Other titles by Jeff Szpirglas

Other titles by Josh Holinaty