Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Bad Case of Stripes: Lima Beans for Camilla

A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon tells the story of Camilla Cream, who loved lima beans, but never ate them, because everyone knows that lima beans are yucky, and if there's anything that Camilla wants out of life, it's to be accepted.  In fact, she tries on 42 outfits for the first day of school, just trying to find the perfect one (too bad none of them were quite right).  Lima beans, then, are definitely out.

When she looks in the mirror to judge her latest outfit, Camilla is shocked - she's come down with a case of stripes!  Oh, no!  And after the doctor clears her to go to school, stripes and all, she finds out that she's even more impressionable than she thought: the pledge of allegiance made her break out in stars!  And upon recommendations from her classmates, she's also covered in a checkerboard pattern.. and purple polka dots... and all sorts of things!

Things just keep getting worse for poor Camilla; she can't help but be influenced by 100 different things.  When specialists give her pills to clear things up, she turns into a giant capsule.  Will things ever get better for her?  Or is the real problem that she won't show her true colors because she cares so much what everyone else thinks?

I'm going to make a confession right now: like Camilla, I love lima beans.  It's not something that you tell people in polite company, but it's true.  They're probably my favorite vegetable.  And since I was making some to go with dinner anyway, I thought I'd dedicate them to Camilla.  Here's how I make mine:

Lima Beans for Camilla
Frozen lima beans
Salt and pepper

1) Pour frozen beans into a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water (about 1/4 cup per cup of beans).  Cover and cook on high for 2 minutes.  Drain.
1) Pour frozen beans into a small saucepan with a splash of water (about 1/4 cup per cup of beans) and cook on medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until heated through.  Drain.
2) Add a small pat of butter per serving of beans - just enough to coat the beans when it's melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

That's it.  Delicious!

This book was recommended to me by a librarian friend of mine (thanks, Libby!), who told me that this book is really popular with her patrons.  So popular, in fact, that it was checked out the first time she told me about it, and I had to get it another day.  I'm going to recommend it to you, because it's a cute story and a lot of people really like it, but I'm going to add a few caveats.  Firstly, it's supposed to be for ages 4-8, but it's awfully wordy for younger kids, and I'm not sure they'd sit still through the whole thing.  Secondly... well, it's pretty creepy.  If your little one scares easily - or even if they don't - you may want to read through it first and make sure it's appropriate for their maturity level.  The illustrations (and even the concept... if you don't eat your veggies, you'll turn stripey and grow a tail?) may be a bit much for those with active imaginations.  That said, it's definitely worth a look.

In other news, I got a lovely note and a blog shout-out from the amazing Zoe Toft of Playing By The Book.  If you like my blog, you'll love hers - she and her family not only cook, but play, draw, and create with (or about) books!  This is kind of how I was hoping my blog would turn out - please check it out!


  1. I have 8 children ages 20 -1 years old and I have and will continue to read this book. I love the fun colorful message.
    My daughter and son are 18 years and 16 years and they posted the cover of this book on their blog
    We love this story!

  2. Hello. If next time you could post the actual writing to the story that would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    November 21,2011 4:20 pm

  3. Hi there,
    I can't post the writing to the actual story due to copyright issues, but you can find the books for free at your local library. :)