A Bad Case of Stripes

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by JocieMayr
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Book Reports
Grade:
4,5,6

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A Bad Case of Stripes

Camilla the central character of the book, is introduced to the readers in the first page, projecting the image of a girl in her very early teens, who is overly concerned about everyone else’s opinion of her personal appearance. The author illustrates this by using an eye level shot of Camilla looking into the mirror with a facial expression that says “Gosh this looks awful”. The use of pale dark colours and boring mood that is set in this shot, depicts that Camilla has a negative judgment of herself; this is also made evident with the use of evaluative language in the text when Camilla exclaims she has to impress people.As the story progresses onto Camilla’s strange sickness, Shannon uses bright colour pallets to make Camilla’s stripes and other strange colourful manifestations of her body the main focus of the story. Shannon uses nouns, adjectives and figurative language such as alliteration and metaphors to portray the reactions of the students in Camilla’s class. They call her names such as “Camilla Crayon” and “Night of the living lollipop”.

Camilla Cream

The old lady plays a very significant role in the story, as she is the one who makes Camilla realize that enduring and overcoming this sickness was a necessary lesson to discover and enjoy being herself.. The way she is presented in the story makes her appear as an image of a fairy godmother who comes and helps Camilla get back on her feet and makes her realise the importance of self-acceptance despite what others think. The author uses a simile to describe the old lady “an old woman who was just as plump and sweet as a strawberry”, readers can also depict by looking at an eye level view of the old lady illustrated with bright colours and with a happy and benevolent facial expression to show that she is kind and caring.

The Little Old Lady

The mood of the story gradually gathers momentum as Camilla’s concerned parents bring in a troop of doctors, specialists, scientists and all sorts of conventional and unconventional therapists unsuccessfully attempting to find a cure for Camilla’s sickness. As each one of the characters appears in the story to check Camilla, the illustrations show close up and eye level shots to show readers the increasingly weird reactions of Camilla’s body to the different examination an treatment approaches. The depersonalisation of the specialists is conveyed by the author by hiding their eyes behind reflective eyeglasses. The illustration below of Camilla covered in roots, tree branches and microorganisms, puts into perspective that Camilla is not herself anymore and has turned into something bizarre. The slouching position Camilla is in and the close up reaction of the TV presenter tells the reader that Camilla should at that moment be exhausted from others not accepting her for she is.

Let's look at how the author potrays the characters through language features and illustrations!

"Oh dear, what's happening to Camilla?

This story is a must read. The use of the picture frames as eyes, the bed as a mouth and the dresser as a nose is remarkable. Using relatively simple language, reinforced with highly descriptive illustrations, the author conveys the message of the importance of people accepting themselves for what they are and following their own choices in life through an indirect and at the same time effective and enjoyable reading experience. This book is highly recommended for years 4-7, as students can easily assimilate the positive message conveyed through a combination of real world and fantasy narration.

A Bad Case of Stripes (1998) written and Illustrated by David Shannon, gives an insight to the life of a young school girl who is facing difficulties accepting who she is. The main character Camilla Cream is faced with conflict at school because she has particular preference for something that none of the other students like. The issue of the importance of self-acceptance, which is central to the theme develops around Camilla contracting a rare but innocuous disease with extremely visual external manifestations, which makes Camilla the target of mockery and harassment from her school mates. After all resources of medical science and unconventional methods are exhausted without any success, in a fable like twist of events with the intervention of a mysterious lady, Camilla finds that the cure to her illness resides simply in accepting herself as she really is and enjoying what she really likes regardless of the opinion of the people.

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About the book

A Bad Case of Stripes

Written and Illustrated by David Shannon

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