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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 1999
This is a great read aloud for any age. I read it to my sixth graders and my third graders and both classes loved this book. David Shannon has done it again. In this book he teaches a lesson of knowing who we are and not following the crowd. The main character, Camilla Cream is worried about what to wear the first day of school, as she has so many friends to impress. After trying on forty-two outfits she looks in the mirror and screams. She has broken out with a bad case of stripes. This is a hillarious story of what Camilla has to go through with her case of stripes. Davis Shannon's illustrations add so much to the story. The cover itself will attract readers. I have decided that David Shannon is my new favorite author and illustrator. I highly recommend this book.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
It's the first day of school, and pre-pubescent Camille wants dearly to fit in with her schoolmates. She's so concerned, in fact, that she dare not tell them that she actually enjoys eating the ubiquitously hated lima bean--bane of the no-green-foods set. So you can imagine how conformity minded Camille feels when, for unknown reasons, her skin turns into a rainbow of striped colors extending from forehead to toes. If you can't imagine, author David Shannon informs us that her mother screams, and Camille is so afraid of what people will say that she is glad her mom is keeping her home from school. Aha, but not so fast! The aptly named Dr. Bumble, attuned only to physical symptoms and psychologically inept, OKs Camille for school.

As if stripes were bad enough, Camille discovers that her skin color responds to voice commands from the other kids, who color her in unusual patterns and colors. So much for blending in with the crowd! Worse yet, when a collection of similarly unsympathetic "expert" doctors prescribe medicine and describe bacteria and viruses, Camille's head turns into a gumball machine of pills, and giant, colored worm-like bugs attach themselves to her. She looks fascinatingly grotesque, morphing into a colorful but mostly unrecognizable collage of bacteria, roots, berries, feathers, abstract designs, feathers, and even a tail. Eventually, her whole face is relocated into various parts of her bedroom (hung pictures are her eyes; the couch is her mouth).

So, what's the point of this Dali-esque imagery, and who's going to like it? First, let's look at the resolution: A winking elderly woman feeds Camille some lima beans through her couch-mouth, and Camille's acceptance of her secret food love returns her to her pre-striped self. The theory goes like this: Embrace your feelings, no matter how unpopular they may be, and the real you will emerge. It's a good, if facile message: Probably too simple for older kids and perhaps too subtle for some of the younger ones.

Adults and teens will appreciate Shannon's bold and imaginative creativity, and older or more mature kids may be enthralled by the skillfully depicted and dramatic bodily changes. However, elements of this fantasy could be disturb some children, depending perhaps (and I claim no expertise here) on their sense of security, boundaries, suggestibility, and recognition of fantasy. There's a yellow flag here, buyers should be aware of the young audience's capacity to view all this with a healthy detachment, and a sense that it's all pretend. This seems particularly relevant when doctors--for many a trusted authority figure--as well as young friends apparently exert such control over Camille's appearance. There's no question that Shannon is an incredibly talented illustrator and crafty storyteller, but this book could elicit a variety of reactions (especially from younger kids), and adults should try to gauge the likely emotional response from their audience.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2000
This book has passed the kids-test with flying colors in our household. My three children 4-7 pick it out of the hundreds of books they own or borrow time and time again. The illustration is colorful and funny. The story has enough realism to anchor it into a child's world but plenty of fantasy to make it adventurous and interesting. Best of all, the morale of the story, (that a child can be herself and doesn't need to suppress personality traits, likes and dislikes just to fit in) is conveyed in a compassionate and not at all preachy voice. It comes across even for a child in the targeted age range. A wonderful children's book.
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62 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2006
Here on Amazon it says the age range for this book is 4-8 but I would strongly reconsider giving this book to a four year old. They read this book in my daughter's preschool, and she cried for an hour at home because she was so scared. She is almost five. The illustrations are very graphic, and looked a little creepy. I'm sure the overall message is good, and apparently other kids love it, but we won't be buying this one in our house!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2000
Well, I was cruising through the library stacks, looking for the author of "No, David!" (another outstanding book) when I came across this piece of magic. The illustrations are works of art, the writing is tight and lyrical, the dialogue is beyond what you would expect to find in writing for "mere children." Cross "Madeline" with Roald Dahl and you've got an idea of what you're in store for!
The story, if you haven't gleaned it from other reviews, is that Camilla has decided to be untrue to herself by denying herself her one great love in life - lima beans by the steaming plateful. As a result of the obvious internal angst over her leguminous desire and her need to do what she perceives as cool, her body rebels and does the most uncool thing of all - it covers itself in a rainbow of stripes. Things get worse when Camilla is allowed by the family doctor to go to school - the stripes start shifting colors and shapes at the whim of the other students. Eventually, she is forced to stay home, thanks to the voiced concerns of frightened parents. The final showdown comes as pandemonium erupts when the local television stations discover this oddity in their town.
This book will charm children of all ages - my ten-year-old couldn't believe what she was hearing from her sister's bedroom as I read it aloud before bedtime. Grab this book and embrace it as the treasure it is.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2001
Camilla loves lima beans, but won't eat them because no other children like them. One day she wakes up with bright stripes across her face. From then on she turns into anything she eats or talks about. She then learns to deal with being different and made fun of by her classmates, until a old lady comes and gives her lima beans to eat. When she returns to normal Camilla decides that she doesn't care what anyone thinks and eats all the lima beans she wants.
The cover design really sets this book off. The colorful stripes and big words attract children to read this story. The author gives a unique story to help children understand that different is not bad. The characters are very stereotypical in a funny way. For example when talking with the doctors, "Then the specialist went to work on Camilla. They squeezed and jabbed, tapped and tested." The detail and description in this story is excellent and the illustrations along with the character development go together to make a hilarious yet "deep" story plot.
This book is written for transitional and fluent readers, but children of all ages would enjoy this story. This story could be used when discussing differences and doing what is right. Teachers could use it when working on writing with detail.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2000
This book was great! My son collected it through Americorps which produces a summer camp for kids in our area. This was the first of 6 books that he received. The illustrations where wonderful and the story gives a good lesson in teaching children to be themselves. I took this book to work with me and let several of my co-workers read it! They loved it! Be prepared to sell more, they are going to the book store to pick it up! Thank you for this wonderful story!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2001
Miraculous and true! My son is a very picky-eater and resists just about anything that doesn't fall into the pizza-hotdog-chicken nugget-food group. I began reading this book to him and his sister and have noticed that voluntarily he is eating green veggies at dinner. Even broccoli. I realize that the message of the book (to an adult reader) is more about being true to one self. The kids and I have even talked about how Camilla Cream tries to please so many different people or just "fit in" with everyone, that she ends up with "a bad case of stripes." For whatever reason, my son has focused on the lima beans and happily has discovered that eating green veggies is an enjoyable thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2012
Seriously folks, this is not a scary book in any respect! The illustrations are beautifully done in vibrant colors, with a realistic yet IMAGINATIVE feel. It is meant to be viewed as a fun story and like most children's stories, it has a happily-ever-after ending. Plus it teaches a message to children to be confident enough to be themselves. It's okay to eat lima beans even when nobody else does! This book has been on my book shelf for at least 10 years now and has gone through 3 children spanning from early preschool and up, and I have NEVER encountered a problem with it. Teach your kids to be open to differences, have an imagination and enjoy an awesome story!
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
My daughter is 6 and her 1st grade teacher just read this book to the class the day before yesterday... it has been a nightmare! When I picked her up from school she looked upset so I asked her what's wrong and she said she felt dizzy and sick so I thought she's ill, but then she finally said a book the teacher read to them made her sick and she tried to tell her teacher but her teacher said she'll feel better after they finish the book, but of course she didn't finish it and was going to finish it the next day. Well, whatever the ending, she's not going ANYWHERE near that book. At first she wouldn't even tell me the title or what it's about. She just refused to talk about it and only said that it was gross and made her want to throw up. Before I found out what the book was from the teacher, I seriously just though she was ill but then I read the review and realize it's the book. She woke up and couldn't go back to sleep the first night and we just got her to finally fall asleep after 2 hours of many tears and prayers. She is convinced that she will NEVER get the images and sick feelings out of her head and that she is doomed to feel like this. I feel so bad for her and wish there was more we can do. We are thinking of getting her to counseling if it doesn't get better in a few days. Not a good experience for her 1st week of school I tell you. Even though the teacher let her go to another classroom while they finished up the story and discussed it, I don't think her school year will be the same because of this and I ache for her. I wanted her to have such a great 1st grade experience and I'm in pain as well. PLEASE, I know it's a minority of kids that are affected by this book this way, but for those affected, it's rally hellish and hard to bare. Think twice about reading it to your child or your class if you're a teacher, PLEASE! There are much better ways to get this message across to the kids. Thanks for reading and hope you never have to be in my shoes with this book. Good luck and God bless you.
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