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A Bad Case of Stripes

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"What we have here is a bad case of stripes. One of the worst I've ever seen!"

Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because the other kids in her school don't like them. And Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she's so worried that she's about to break out in...a bad case of stripes!

32 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1998

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About the author

David Shannon

202 books509 followers
David Shannon is the author and illustrator of many highly praised books for children. Born in Washington, D.C., he grew up in Spokane, Washington. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a fine arts degree, and then moved to New York City. His editorial illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, Time, and Rolling Stone, and his artwork has appeared on numerous book jackets. Shannon is a passionate baseball fan and softball player. He and his wife now live in Los Angeles.

David Shannon @ Scholastic

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5 stars
46,073 (55%)
4 stars
20,099 (24%)
3 stars
12,169 (14%)
2 stars
3,455 (4%)
1 star
1,718 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,810 reviews
Profile Image for Rebecca.
123 reviews20 followers
July 16, 2014
My daughter is in 1st grade (age 6) and is TERRIFIED of this book. I realize it is very, very popular but my daughter has a great imagination and now she is very scared of eating orange, green, and blue foods. She pretty much only eats pink/red and white foods now.

We got this book as a gift from my father when she was 4 and it scared her. We asked her preschool class to put it behind other books so she wouldn't see it in the book area (if she did see it, she wouldn't go near it). In kindergarten we warned her teacher and it wasn't an issue. Now in 1st grade I have warned her new teacher however I know it is in the classroom and she is scared of it. Today the principal read the first half during lunchtime and she covered her ears but could not block the sound. She is dreading lunchtime tomorrow when he will finish the book (and go through the part where the girl is all stripes).

(She ended up eating lunch in the school office that day so she wouldn't have to hear the story.)

SO if you have a sensitive child like I do, I urge some caution with this book. Never mind the author's intended message, some kids will be freaked out by the possibility of foods causing them to change colors and may suffer anxiety for months, or years, to come.
Profile Image for Natalie.
239 reviews46 followers
March 17, 2014
I know that this is popular and I get what the book is trying to say about not worrying about what other people think, but I was freaking terrified of this book when I was a kid. In fact, I'm still creeped out to this day. The visuals and some of the stuff that happened to the main character was just terrifying.

It's not a bad book, it really isn't, but it scared the crap out of me and I will not go anywhere NEAR that book. So a big round of applause to you who love this book, cuz I sure as hell didn't.
Profile Image for Ronyell.
956 reviews320 followers
March 15, 2015

“A Bad Case of Stripes” is a story about how peer pressure literally can affect a person. David Shannon, author of the popular “David” series, has created a surreal yet enchanting tale that will gain attention from both kids and adults.

“A Bad Case of Stripes” has one of the most creative illustrations I have ever seen. David Shannon takes care in making each character as colorful as they can be and masterfully illustrates Camilla’s odd situation by adding vivid colors to each transformation that Camilla takes on. Also, the moral of the story about being yourself is greatly defined here when Camilla goes through more awkward transformations when she does not admit that she loves lima beans. The story teaches people that no matter what anyone says about you, you should always be yourself no matter what.


“A Bad Case of Stripes” is truly a book that can not be missed and the story’s heroine, Camilla, clearly defines the meaning of peer pressure sometimes having positive or negative influences on people. Of course, I would strongly advise parents to read this book first before they show it to children ages five or younger since it contains many frightening images that would not be suitable for children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


Profile Image for Faloni ©.
2,126 reviews5 followers
January 12, 2022
A Bad Case of Stripes is being used in our classroom to discuss self-identity, bullying, and respect. Camilla’s treatment by her classmates is not nice. The book prompts students to think about what can be done to develop stronger sense of self-worth and positive communication. Our world is filled with so many competitive demands, it’s important to treat children like royalty and empower them with praise for they won’t feel like they’re being counted out. Always remember that children are living, breathing human beings who have needs to be respected, accepted, appreciated, to feel important and secure.
Profile Image for Amina.
406 reviews155 followers
December 9, 2021
Only if being yourself and eating what you wanted were that easy. I remember my mom use to send me to school with traditional food and I use to sweat and feel anxious before opening my little care bear lunch box. Alas, a 6-year-old in 2021 presenting as different is so woke!

The little girl eats lima beans and she ends up getting stripes and made fun of at school. The only cure, be yourself.

No matter how much you try, being different isn't easy for everyone. The book came along with a great message, my 4-year-old liked it, but probably didn't love it. I think older kids can appreciate the book a bit more.

My tryphobia kicked on the page where she becomes a pill bottle.

Overall, it wasn't bad.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,802 reviews1,235 followers
August 27, 2008
This is a fun and colorful, very colorful!, book with a great message about not being afraid to be true to yourself and not caring so much about what other people think of you. It uses humor in a way that’s fun for kids, and the moral is clear but doesn’t overpower the story. The story seemed to end slightly too abruptly to me, but overall it was very enjoyable.
Profile Image for Eli.
716 reviews110 followers
May 17, 2016
Wow. The artwork for this is really nice, but the message is what really struck me as amazing. The story is basically about how conformity destroys your individuality. In simpler terms, not doing something you really love because everyone thinks it's weird (like eating lima beans) turns you into something you're not (like a striped girl with a tail and tree trunk legs). Such a great story.
Profile Image for midnightfaerie.
1,980 reviews121 followers
June 28, 2013
What an absolutely wonderful book! Such an original idea that teaches such a simple lesson! And the illustrations were so detailed! This is definitely one I'll be adding to our library when I get the chance. Probably a level 3 or 4 reading level at least, but something a parent would enjoy reading to a kid of any age. Camilla is scared what people will think of her on her first day of school, but it turns out she doesn't need to worry because she comes down with a case of the stripes, her whole body looking like a brightly colored rainbow. Halfway through reading this with my children I felt like the kid in the back of the class that's going "Ooh! Ohh! I know what's gonna happen!" as I frantically wave my hand. (Why do I get an image of Horshack and the sweathogs when I say that, and jeez, did that date me?) Anyway, we loved this book, and highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Agnė.
756 reviews58 followers
April 1, 2017
Shannon's illustrations are BEAUTIFUL. Just look at that detail and colors!

Also, the message is simple but powerful: stay true to yourself. If I ever had a motto, that probably would be it, haha!

Interestingly, Camilla Cream's stripes on the front cover (as well as the six colors on the back cover) look a lot like an LGBT pride flag (though the order of the colors is slightly different), which adds a significant layer of meaning to the book's message :)
Profile Image for Jorie Turner.
29 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2007
Summary: Camilla Cream likes lima beans, but when she gets made fun of for liking them, she gets embarrassed and tells her family that she no longer wants to eat them. She then breaks out with stripes. The doctors however cannot find anything wrong with her so her mother still makes her go to school. Camilla’s classmates discover that whenever they yell out colors or designs she turns into whatever they have yelled out. Camilla discovers the only cure to actually eat what others make fun of her for, the lima beans, and when she does she turns back into regular old Camilla.
Response: I loved the message in this book and think it would be great for those third and fourth graders who are beginning to feel pressure from their peers. The story gives the message that is it okay to be an individual and important to do so.
Profile Image for Maya .
112 reviews18 followers
April 25, 2021
I didn't really care for this one. I think the message was conveyed in an over-the-top manner. As I've seen in the reviews, many kids got scared of the story and even the illustrations, and I can see why.
Profile Image for Selwa.
412 reviews
November 7, 2015
Maybe you need to be a child or a parent to appreciate this book. Maybe I didn't appreciate it because I am neither. Then again, maybe I just didn't appreciate it, despite the love it seems to get from so many others (seriously, I was a little surprised to see all the five-star ratings), because it's not my cup of tea (or bowl of lima beans), and that's okay, too.

Moving on, this is the story of a young girl, Camilla, who loves lima beans but pretends she doesn't so the other kids don't make fun of her. She cares so much about what others think, she wakes up one day with stripes on her body. Things get worse and worse (think Dali), and finally a random old lady suggests Camilla eat lima beans, and everything snaps back to normal.

So I guess the moral is to let your freak flag fly. It's a good moral, but the telling of the story wasn't so good to me. Here's what stood out for me:

First of all, it seems like how Camilla looks is caused by what people say, like her condition is suggestible. That makes sense, since she cares so much about what others think. But how did it start? There was no mention of stripes until she woke up striped.

Secondly, some of the basic storytelling just doesn't sit right. Camilla doesn't want to ask her dad for lima beans because she's already been laughed at. If she's at home with her parents, who's going to laugh at her? And the old lady ... how did she know about the lima beans? HOW DID SHE KNOW???

I will say this, at least ... I did like the illustrations. I wonder if that's what everyone loves.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a freak flag to fly.
Profile Image for Maria.
740 reviews44 followers
July 13, 2017
I think this book is pretty clever, but one reading of it has broken my 3 year old. She has been afraid to go to bed for the past few nights because of the "wiggly things" in this book. I donated it to the library to get it out of our house so I could promise her with a clean conscience that there were no wiggly things in our house.
Profile Image for Cora.
365 reviews41 followers
September 25, 2019
I read this to my second graders and they absolutely loved it!
1 review
February 8, 2019
My daughter was read this book in the first week of kindergarten and is totally and utterly terrified by the images and the content. The greater themes of nonconformity may be easily accessible to adults however they appear to wash straight over a lot of young children and hit them straight in the terror centre as several of the children in her class were equally scared.
My daughter now cannot sleep alone and is absolutely petrified! In her whole life I have never seen her so poisonously affected by something.
I urge you not to read this book to your young children it does far more damage than good.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,941 reviews202 followers
July 5, 2021
The theme of this classic — be yourself — might be trite, but the book’s treatment of the topic is anything but. Camila Cream, obsessive about what others think, becomes sick with stripes! Young readers will love seeing the doctors try to cure Camila and to see what finally makes her illness go away; adults probably won’t like the book as much as kids do, but it’s still a fun read.
Profile Image for Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos.
263 reviews69 followers
July 22, 2018
An excellent tale which recommends being yourself, liking the stuff you like, and not losing yourself in trying to be what others want you to be. It’s an excellent lesson for kids to hear and one that we adults still need to hear as well.
Profile Image for Salmon.
7 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2022
This book was scary. NOT FOR CHILDREN.
119 reviews
November 23, 2010
Camilla Cream is so frustrated on the first day of school. She feels that she has many people to impress and feels that she has to look her best. In the mid of all this stress, she breaks into a bad case of the stripes. She is covered from head to toe in stripes and does not understand the reason why. The doctors check her put they cannot think what may have caused the stripes. She goes to school and is considered a distraction to the rest of the class and is asked to stay home. So many people try to help her and cure the stripes but each time it only gets worse and worse. Until an old sweet lady offered her help and she gave Camilla lima beans which cured everything. Camilla was too worried about always fitting in and impressing others that she began to put aside what she really wanted. This is a great book to have students realize that it is ok to be different.

This is a good book to use at the beginning of the school year. We need to let our students know to be theirself and not do things to please others. Students should accept theirself. This is also a book that can be used as a strategy of showing students how things are put together (even themselves). Students can work on a puzzle and verbalize the strategy used to put the puzzle together. This can work to show students that we can begin the story in different parts or event that it is okay to be different.
Profile Image for Jenna Cohen.
24 reviews
November 13, 2012
I read this for my 4th Picture Book review. I found it on the Goodreads recommended reading list bookshelf.

I picked this book to read because a colleague of mine keeps it on display in her classroom, but I had never read it. I never knew why until now!

This book would be a great read-aloud to elementary aged students. This book would be engaging as a read aloud as children could make predictions as the story is read, as well as be soaked in by the vivid pictures.

This would tie in great to social-emotional curriculum. The story is about a girl who loves Lima Beans, but stops eating them after she is teased. Then, she contracts a "bad case of the stripes". The only cure is to eat the lima beans she loves! This story is a great introduction to speaking with children about why it is important to be yourself. It also could start a discussion on how we make others feel when we tease them.

One of the strong art elements used in this book was the colorful illustrations. It looked like a rainbow was on the page!

The author of this book may be familiar to many young students, as he is the author of the David! series.
50 reviews
November 25, 2013
Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but decides not to eat them because everyone else thinks they’re gross and she wants to fit in. The next morning, she wakes up and has colored stripes all over her body! As the days go on, the stripes get worse and worse and change to represent anything imaginable including a checkerboard and clouds. She even grows a tail at one point! Camilla is mortified because now she stands out more than ever, but even the experts can’t determine what is wrong with her or come up with a cure. After a very embarrassing interaction with news crews, Camilla meets an old lady. The old lady gives her lima beans and she magically turns back into herself. Camilla decides to eat lima beans, even if everyone else thinks they’re gross—she no longer cares so much about fitting in because she would rather just be herself. The illustrations in this book are amazing. They represent the text perfectly and put images in the reader’s head that are beyond imaginable. My personal favorite is when Camilla becomes one with her room!
Profile Image for Carole P. Roman.
Author 72 books2,204 followers
May 25, 2013
David Shannon writes the best books. His characters feel real, they are not cookie cutter. "A Bad Case of Stripes" does not disappoint. Camilla has trouble making up her mind. She worries what other people will think of her, even when choosing a dress. She won't reveal that she likes lima beans, so she hides her real self. She begins to change, become distorted, and soon nobody recognizes her until an older woman tells her she knows the real person is in there somewhere. The moral is no matter what others are telling you, you have to be true to yourself. Don't be afraid to say what you like and if people don't like you for it- well, then it's their loss. A wonderful book, however, I think the age group should be older. Younger kids may be alarmed when Camilla changes too much. Good book for discussion on peer pressure and acceptance.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
816 reviews
March 23, 2009
Breaking my strict rule about avoiding David Shannon books, I checked this one out after I noticed that almost every goodreads friend I have is reading it or wants to read it. The illustrations are AMAZING. Perhaps the best I've ever seen in a picture book. The story is . . . meh. It's a little too old for Catherine, and kind of saccharine. A pretty standard version of the just-be-yourself bit.
Profile Image for Ash.
1,019 reviews122 followers
June 10, 2019
My son got terrified of getting stripes disease after reading this book. I had to explain that there is no real stripes disease. The message could have been conveyed in a better manner. It’s pretty creepy even for an adult.
Profile Image for Simone.
47 reviews
September 21, 2010
Not only is each page filled with bright colors and a lot of detail but it teaches a lesson of being your true self. This is a great picture book to use with older students!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,810 reviews

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