A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes

4.2 40
by David Shannon

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An award-winning author/illustrator presents a humorous story about the importance of being yourself. On the first day of school, Camilla discovers that she is covered from head to toe in stripes, then polka dots, and any other pattern spoken aloud. With a little help, she learns the secret of accepting her true self, in spite of her peculiar ailment. Full color. 32


An award-winning author/illustrator presents a humorous story about the importance of being yourself. On the first day of school, Camilla discovers that she is covered from head to toe in stripes, then polka dots, and any other pattern spoken aloud. With a little help, she learns the secret of accepting her true self, in spite of her peculiar ailment. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 5-9. Pub: 3/98.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Stephanie Zvirin (Booklist, January 1 & 15, 1998 (Vol. 94, No. 9 & 10))
Camilla, who loves lima beans but won't eat them because it's not cool, finds that deferring to others isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, her desire to please and be popular causes her some spectacular problems: she suddenly breaks out in stripes, then stars, then turns "purple polka-dotty" at the behest of a delighted classmate. Her weird mutations, which stymie doctors and send the media into a frenzy, become more and more extreme until she finally blends into the walls of her room--her lips the red-blanketed mattress on her bed, her eyes the paintings on the wall. Will she never be herself again? Shannon's over-the-top art is sensational, an ingenious combination of the concrete and the fantastic that delivers more than enough punch to make up for the somewhat heavy hand behind the story, and as usual, his wonderfully stereotypic characters are unforgettable. The pictures are probably enough to attract young browsers (Camilla in brilliant stripped glory graces the jacket), and the book's irony and wealth of detail may even interest readers in higher grades. Try this for leading into a discussion on being different. Category: For the Young. 1998, Scholastic/Blue Sky,

Horn Book (Horn Book Guide, Fall 1998)
A girl obsessed with what people think about her contracts an ailment that literally turns her into whatever anyone--classmates, doctors, etc.--decides she should be. The story is heavy-handed, but the girl's graphically depicted symptoms, from multicolored stripes to twigs and other spiny appendages protruding from her body, contribute to the dark comedy of the retro-style paintings. Category: Fiction. 1998, Scholastic, 32pp. Ages 5 to 9. Rating: 4: Recommended, with minor flaws.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1998)
Camilla Cream wants to fit in, so she conforms, denying herself the things she craves--lima beans, for example--if the other kids frown upon them. She wakes up one morning covered head to toe with party-colored stripes--not the state of affairs aspired to by a conventionalist, but it's only the beginning of her troubles. Her schoolmates call out designs and Camilla's skin reacts: polka dots, the American flag--"poor Camilla was changing faster than you could change channels on a T.V." Specialists are called in, as are experts, healers, herbalists, and gums. An environmental therapist suggests she "breathe deeply, and become one with your room." Camilla melts into the wall. It takes a little old lady with a handful of lima beans to set Camilla to rights. Shannon's story is a good poke in the eye of conformity--imaginative, vibrant, and at times good and spooky--and his emphatic, vivid artwork keeps perfect pace with the tale. 1998, Blue Sky/Scholastic, $15.95. Starred Review. © 1998 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Pat Mathews (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 1998 (Vol. 51, No. 7))
Camilla Cream "was always worried about what other people thought of her." She secretly loves lima beans and doesn't want her food fetish to ruin her popularity with her lima-bean-hating friends. Things quickly take an odd turn when Camilla gets a really weird disease. Initially she breaks out in rainbow stripes (but it gets weirder) and finally ends up turning into whatever the people around her suggest ("An Environmental Therapist claimed she could cure Camilla. 'Close your eyes,' she said. 'Breathe deeply, and become one with your room.' 'I wish you hadn't said that,' Camilla groaned"). Kids will giggle and gasp at the story of peer pressure run amok as one zany scene outdoes the other (Camilla's transformation into her bedroom, with mattresses for lips, is uniquely strange and very funny). The exaggerated, solid, puppet-like characters who encounter Camilla's chameleon ways are comically appropriate to this droll take on being true to oneself, and the

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On this disturbing book's striking dust jacket, a miserable Betty-Boop-like girl, completely covered with bright bands of color, lies in bed with a thermometer dangling from her mouth. The rainbow-hued victim is Camilla Cream, sent home from school after some startling transformations: "when her class said the Pledge of Allegiance, she turned red, white, and blue, and she broke out in stars!" Scientists and healers cannot help her, for after visits from "an old medicine man, a guru, and even a veterinarian... she sprouted roots and berries and crystals and feathers and a long furry tail." The paintings are technically superb but viscerally troublingespecially this image of her sitting in front of the TV with twigs and spots and fur protruding from her. The doe-eyed girl changes her stripes at anyone's command, and only nonconformity can save her. When she finally admits her unspeakable secretshe loves lima beansshe is cured. Shannon (How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball) juggles dark humor and an anti-peer-pressure message. As her condition worsens, Camilla becomes monstrous, ultimately merging with the walls of her room. The hallucinatory images are eye-popping but oppressive, and the finalewith Camilla restored to her bean-eating selfbrings a sigh of relief. However, the grotesque images of an ill Camilla may continue to haunt children long after the cover is closed. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - C. Dennette Michaels
"Camilla Cream loved Lima beans. But she never ate any of them. All of her friends hated lima beans and she wanted to fit in." Before her mirror, while trying on number 42 of the possible outfits for the first day of a new school year, Camilla develops a striped skin. When a doctor summoned finds no "illness," she returns to school. There, on succeeding days, she become polka-dotted, an American flag variant, and sprouts vines. Physicians come, and go. School finally says, "Too much". One day, "a woman who called herself an Environmental Therapist came with promise of a cure-Lima beans, of course." Camilla rejects them at first, until she realizes that being laughed at is nothing to compared to her dehumanizing experiences. "Wait!" she cries. "The truth is, I really love lima beans." Happy ending and point made. This charming morality tale could, and I think will, became entrenched in the literary folklore of any family fortunate enough to make it part of their picture book experience.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Young Camilla Cream loves lima beans but never eats them. "All of her friends hated lima beans, and she wanted to fit in. Camilla was always worried about what other people thought of her." From the first page, the ending is predictable. It is a rollicking, uproarious journey getting there. Camilla comes down with stripes which spread to spots. Before long every peer, expert and specialist adds another oddity to her appearance. At the story's end, an old woman offers her lima beans and she witnesses Camilla's transformation with, "I knew the real you was in there somewhere." Camilla is a silly antidote for children who live in fear of being different. She allows them to laugh and be heartened by her changes. Read this to children to show them characters who are different but want to be who they are and act in ways they believe to be right even if their choices are doubted by many.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2A highly original moral tale acquires mythic proportions when Camilla Cream worries too much about what others think of her and tries desperately to please everyone. First stripes, then stars and stripes, and finally anything anyone suggests (including tree limbs, feathers, and a tail) appear vividly all over her body. The solution: lima beans, loved by Camilla, but disdained for fear they'll promote unpopularity with her classmates. Shannon's exaggerated, surreal, full-color illustrations take advantage of shadow, light, and shifting perspective to show the girl's plight. Bordered pages barely contain the energy of the artwork; close-ups emphasize the remarkable characters that inhabit the tale. Sly humor lurks in the pictures, too. For example, in one double-page spread the Creams are besieged by the media including a crew from station WCKO. Despite probing by doctors and experts, it takes "an old woman who was just as plump and sweet as a strawberry" to help Camilla discover her true colors. Set in middle-class America, this very funny tale speaks to the challenge many kids face in choosing to act independently.Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
...[A] delicious visual metaphor for the disease of caring too much about what others think of you. -- The New York Times

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
AD540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

David Shannon is the internationally acclaimed creator of more than thirty picture books, including NO, DAVID!, a Caldecott Honor Book and his second NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Book of the Year. In addition to three more David picture books, Shannon’s bestsellers include TOO MANY TOYS; HOW GEORGIE RADBOURN SAVED BASEBALL (newly released in 2012); A BAD CASE OF STRIPES; DUCK ON A BIKE; ALICE THE FAIRY; and GOOD BOY, FERGUS! A native of Spokane, Washington, he is an avid fisherman. He and his family live in California.

Brief Biography

Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
October 5, 1960
Place of Birth:
Washington, D. C. (Raised in Spokane, Washington)
B.A., Art Center College of Design

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Bad Case of Stripes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I tried to read this book with my daughter and didn't get a positive reaction. She is 6 and when we go to the bookstore she will cover this book with other books because she is afraid of it. To make matters worst now is in her class and she is very afraid of it that doesn't even want to go her class. I respect that might be a good story for some but others the illustrations are scary for some.
_Miss-Barb More than 1 year ago
A really fun book about peer pressure and simple remedies for most problems....my grandkids simply adore this book! My (now 20yrs old) oldest granddaughter even dressed up as Camilla one Halloween when she was about 8yrs old. It's fun to read and use all kinds of voices! Highly reccomend this book!
PortraitWords More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a school book fair when I was 9 years old and I absolutely loved it. I read it several times and took it with me everywhere. It made me laugh and was definitely the most creative book I have ever read. The illustrations were beautiful and I'd stare at them for a long time before turning to the next page. I borrowed it from the library recently and still enjoy it as a 20 year old. I do know a girl who was terrified of the book though so I would be careful. But the other kids had no problem with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my 2nd grade class at the very beginning of the school year. They thought it was hilarious! We talked about how we are all different and we don't need to worry what those around us think. The kids also made their own stories about their bad case of the ______ and those were just as funny as the book!
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wheeze More than 1 year ago
When i was in daycare, the kids LOVED this story. They asked me to read it everyday, and I so realize why. The pictures in this book are amazing, whoever drew these definitely needs a kudos. Any kid would fall into this story easy, just with the pictures alone. I love the story line behind it, on how people would 'judge' her and what happens. It's a great way to show kids on what can happen when you judge others and how to be yourself. I think every library, school and day care needs to have this book in their possession. I plan on even purchasing it for my own future kids.
SHELLI28 More than 1 year ago
My kids like this and it has a good story behind it. Helps to teach that you should not try to pretend like you are someone else, do not fall into peer pressure and just be yourself. Good for building confidence and VERY cute illustrations. Alice the Fairy is the BEST though!! So funny and it's my kids' favorite book (even my 3 year old boy!!)...he also likes the No David books by David Shannon too. :)
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Isabellasmom More than 1 year ago
My three year old loves this book. Although it was a little long for her, she sat through it. We had a lot of fun reading this book. It is especially good to read before school starts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dandj929 More than 1 year ago
My family always enjoys reading this book together at bedtime (or any time). The characters are funny and the pictures are amazing. There is so much to look at and every time we read the story we see something else we hadn't seen the last time. The story has a great message as well. Don't be afraid to just be yourself. I am a preschool teacher and this book is also one of the class favorites. We read this over and over and over again. It never gets old.
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rstwilight08 More than 1 year ago
I remember buying this book at a book fair in my school. As soon as I started reading it I was hooked. It was one of my favorite books. I lost the book sadly, but still I remember the story. It is a wonderful book.
KatherineEJ More than 1 year ago
My students in 6th grade had a good time using this book in their reading response groups. I like it when you are just getting started working with groups. Very easy and simple.
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MicheleLeesBookLove More than 1 year ago
Another colorful tale from David Shannon this one talks about the horrible things that can happen if you let other people decide who you are.
AndreaMI More than 1 year ago
Camilla Cream awakens to a very unexpected transformation on her first day of school. Camilla finds herself convered in stripes and is terrified at what people may think about how she looks. Camilla goes to school and low and behold when the class is saying the Pledge of Allegiance, her stripes turn into stars and stripes. Throughout the story Camilla goes through many changes in her appearance. Camilla's parents hire many doctors to try and break the case and figure out what is wrong with their daughter, but nobody their parents bring in to help her can figure it out. Until one plump old lady comes knocking on the door to offer her assistance. The tale takes a critical turn for Camilla when the little old lady tells her the secret to getting rid of the stripes is to be herself. A beautifully illustrated book whose pictures bring the story to life. A Bad Case of Stripes brings the struggles that children have everyday into the forefront; the struggles of being yourself, self-esteem,and bullying. Truly a wonderful read for the whole family, and a great book to introduce to students.