Dianne: Animal instincts can be fascinating, and I love the way your book, THEY JUST KNOW, makes this concept accessible to young readers. I see great opportunities for extended discussions about what animals know by instinct, and what they must learn over time.
I’m curious about the inspiration for the book. I imagine it might have begun with a young child and a conversation similar to the one in the book.
Robin: It absolutely did!
My then two-year-old daughter and my ninetyish-year-old grandmother saw a butterfly float by a rose bush. They immediately began to play butterfly, flapping their ‘wings’, and my grandmother suggested I should be the mother butterfly. “Actually,” I said, “butterflies never meet their mothers.”
You should have seen their faces!
My grandmother was annoyed (pretty sure) and my daughter was shocked and interested. Her eyes went big as spots on a butterfly wing. So I started saying silly things like, “Do you think butterflies drink nectar from baby bottles? Do they wear pajamas? Do they read bedtime books?” Even at her age she knew the answers—no! I made her laugh and had an opportunity to teach her something at the same time. I remember thinking right away that I should try to make that interaction into a picture book.
Dianne: I love knowing – and kids will too – that the inspiration for THEY JUST KNOW was a conversation between your young daughter and your grandma. It confirms conventional story-telling wisdom — the best stories are about “what you know first.” I can’t wait to hear more! And I’m sure our readers are right there, too.