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Avoid the Stomach Virus with A Bad Case of Stripes

Posted Dec 06 2008 11:30pm

Seems our community is running rampant with a stomach virus.  Some of the company we had on Thanksgiving Day came down with it just hours after leaving (it wasn’t my cooking, honest!).  We’re so glad to have narrowly escaped the vomiting and diarrhea, especially with small children!

I’m not so sure we’ll be so lucky to escape a bad case of stripes; I can already see the early symptoms in at least two of my children - the two who care what other people think.  What?  You’ve never heard of this dreaded disease?  I hadn’t either until we found it at the library - a book, that is, by David Shannon.

A Bad Case of Stripes is a delightful story about a young girl who loves lima beans.  Now, she didn’t tell her friends this, of course, because no kid likes lima beans and she wanted to fit in.  She cared a lot about what other people thought of her, so much so that she had a terrible time choosing her outfit for the first day of school.

Of course, who cares about what clothes you’re wearing when your body is covered in bright, bold, rainbow stripes?  This is exactly what happens to Camilla Cream as she’s trying to get dressed  for that first day of school.   Her mother sends her to bed and calls the doctor, but Dr. Bumble can’t seem to find a reason to keep her home from school.

At school the next day, Camilla is laughed at by everyone.  Of course, when her stripes changed to red, white, and blue with stars during the Pledge of Allegiance, her classmates began shouting out different designs.  Sure enough, her skin changed to match the polka dots, chekerboard, and camouflage patterns that were being called out.

The specialists are called in; the experts are called in; even an Environmental Therapist is called, but Camilla’s condition only seems to worsen.  No one can determine a cure for this odd skin condition that seems to take on the colors and shapes ofwhatever they mention (especially yucky when the experts talk about viruses and fungi).

Only when a sweet, plump, old woman stops by and offers to help, does Camilla seem to have a chance.  The woman offers Camilla some lima beans.  “”Are those magic beans?” asked Mrs. Cream.  “Oh my, no,” replied the kind old woman.  “There’s no such thing.  These are just plain old lima beans.  I’ll bet you’d like some, wouldn’t you?” she asked Camilla.”

Just after refusing the lima beans, Camilla finally admits that she really does like lima beans.  As she eats the beans, Camilla is cured.

Oh, if only the stripes were really that easy to get rid of.  But aren’t they?  Maybe not after one dose of being ourselves, but after regularly practicing being ourselves - you know, on a daily basis.   Getting dressed in the morning with no one else in mind but ourselves - not what others will think, but what do I think of the clothes I’m putting on?

I’m so glad that my oldest daughter (who currently cares quite a bit about what others think - and she’s only FOUR!) absolutely loves this book - don’t tell her, but she’s getting it for Christmas (the library wants their copy back :).  Hopefully, she’ll see the hidden message amongst the pages and learn to make choices for herself and not for others.

Happy Reading!

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