Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and illustrated by: David Shannon

A few days ago I asked my son if he would like a kiwi fruit packed in his school lunch.
"Yes," he replied. "I mean,
No, no, no."
The way this spilled out from yes to no in such an abrupt fashion made me curious.
"Why not?" I asked him. I had a suspicion it wasn't just because he didn't feel like it. I was right.
"I don't want to hear everybody say 'I don't like kiwis' so many times."
"Have they even tried kiwis?" I asked, again suspicious.
"...I don't know"
"Well, I bet they haven't even tried one. You should ask them."
Of course I didn't pack the kiwi fruit, and I was left a little sad. I know we are all influenced by those around us to one degree or another, for better or for worse, but at this moment I wondered why it had to be against something so nutritious! Suddenly I had a flash of inspiration and so I tried reminding my son about A Bad Case of Stripes. Camilla Cream likes something nutritious too. She likes lima beans. Who likes lima beans? Well --Camilla Cream does! In fact Camilla loves them. However, since she is always worrying about what other people think of her, she stops eating them altogether. Then something strange happens. Camilla wakes up with a bad case of stripes! Oh, and they are bright and colorful ones! The doctors are absolutely clueless and the kids at school, as well as everyone around her seem to be able to change the stripes based on what they say to Camilla. Soon, she is not just striped, but growing branches, and viruses, and she even has an unfortunate mishap with an environmental therapist, which leaves her looking an awful lot like her bedroom. Luckily for Camilla a cute little Grandma knows the remedy, and Camilla accepts it -- just in the nick of time. I tried briefing this story to my son, hinting at the similarites between his and Camilla Cream's stories, but he didn't quite remember the point of this story. It is obviously time to read this book again. Perhaps now it is just a little bit more pertinent in his little boy world.

This book is fun even without any discussion at all but just a surface story to read about the trouble this poor girl goes through. The illustrations are full and colorful, ready to be studied. But there is also as you can guess, a little bit more to this book. So then the question is, can this book aid in a little peer pressure problem? I still haven't packed a kiwi fruit, but I also haven't had a good sit down read and discussion with my son. I'll have to keep you posted.


thecapedhappyender said...

Yes, do tell us if the book changes your son's mind and he will, once again, eat kiwi fruit at school. Interestingly enough, Klark had a similar experience. He decided last summer he liked to eat kiwi's whole - with the skin on. Because of lunch time peer pressure, he wanted me to return to peeling and slicing the fruit. This I didn't mind. And how sad that so many children do not like kiwi. I thought every child would love kiwi - I do not recall personally meeting a child who didn't.

I love this book. It is one we have read hundreds of times. It is one I rave about to others as well. I agree with what you said regarding the illustrations - expressionate and colorful, and I appreciate the humor in this book. And yes, there is even a moral to the book, something I always appreciate. Indeed, this is a great book.

Anonymous said...

I love this book. My favorite part is when she starts changing colors and patterns based upon what the kids at school say. And I love that little old lady who's as plump as a strawberry.

Like Green Eggs and Ham, my kids realize that this book has a lesson, but it doesn't hit them over the head.

I believe I once read that David Shannon drew the pictures first but didn't think he could write the story...until someone encouraged him to do so. Glad they got through to him!