Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

A Bad Case of Stripes

Shannon, David (Author/Illustrator)
Scholastic 2004. 32 pages
First published: 1998
ISBN: 9780439598385 (paperback)
9780590929974 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, structures and features

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

Description:

This comical story portrays the problems of trying too hard to fit in. Camilla pretends she hates lima beans because everyone else does. While trying on 42 dresses, worrying about which one makes the best impression, her skin becomes striped. In class she changes again: into stars and stripes, purple spots, and even a checkerboard pattern. The deadpan language pokes gentle fun at the “specialists” and “experts” who are called in: “Dr. Gourd and Mr. Mellon were the finest scientific minds in the land.” Unfortunately, “Each so-called cure only added to poor Camilla’s strange appearance . . . . . . .”

Lush, vivid illustrations are this book’s great attraction. Children will love the image of a plaid, tiger-spotted, multi-striped Camilla, wiggling under the examination of several doctors. As the illness grows worse, she morphs into a giant medicine capsule; her shocked expression melds with the clear casing and colourful contents.

That we must be true to ourselves is a message young readers will appreciate when it’s delivered in such an outrageous package. When Camilla finally admits that she wants to eat lima beans, she is immediately cured—lesson learned. “Some of the kids at school said she was weird, but she didn’t care a bit.”

  •  Talk about why Camilla didn’t want to admit to liking lima beans. Who influenced her to make this decision? How do people influence others?
  •  Talk with a friend about something you do that is different from what others do. Discuss how this can be difficult at times.
  •  Buy different kinds of beans. Compare the size and texture of the various beans. Grow (lima) beans in the classroom. Write observations.
  •  

    Describe cause and effect in Camilla’s story.

  •  

    Discuss being yourself versus trying to fit what other people expect.

  •  

    Make a character map about who you really are (so you don’t come up with a bad case of stripes.)

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • Visual Arts