A Bad Case Of The Stripes Teaches to Be Content
Book Units
2 Ratings
Add to Favorite  

A Bad Case Of The Stripes Teaches to Be Content

Book Title: A Bad Case Of The Stripes

Author: David Shannon

Illustrator: David Shannon

Jewish Value: Be Content

Book Summary:

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!

Topic(s) Addressed:

Students will explore the value of diversity, individuality and gratitude while sharing the book A Bad Case of The Stripes through discussion, art, poetry and play. 

Enduring Understandings:

  • Each person is different and special. 
  • With an attitude of gratitude and a contented perspective, we can learn to be happy in all different situations 
  • Accept and appreciate ourselves for who we are. 
  • There is great value in great diversity.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Same’ach b’chelko literally means “happy or content with one’s lot.” In other words, this Jewish value reminds us that we need to be content with what we have. This not only refers to our belongings, but also implies that we should not envy what belongs to others, live in the present moment, be happy with our own talents and accomplishments, and accept who we are. There is no limit to what we don t have, and if that is where we focus, then our lives are inevitably filled with endless dissatisfaction.

In essence, we need to be grateful for what we have and who we are. Therefore, same’ach b’chelko is closely connected to another Jewish value, hakarat hatov, gratitude. When we are content with and grateful for what we have, we don’t feel threatened by the success and good fortune of others. We can celebrate what they have by appreciating what is our own. How we feel about ourselves can have an impact on our attitude toward others. As we give thanks, our practice needs to be to recognize and honor what we have received and to be grateful for its sufficiency.

Our own contentedness, then, truly is reflective on our perspective on life: the why and how, the meaning and purpose of our existence in the world. The rabbis of the Talmud teach that we should give thanks for the ability to give thanks. The very first words we are to speak in the morning are Modeh Ani—I am grateful to You. Beginning the day with thanks, our eyes are attuned to blessing and our spirit renewed.

Questions for Reflection

  • We learn from Pirke Avot 4:3 that we should not underrate the importance of anything. What is the reasoning for not underrating the importance of anything?
  • Do you feel more content when you have a sense that all things have their place?
  • What makes you happy, and what are you grateful for?
  • How can you incorporate the value of same’ach b’chelko in your classroom

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Help students identify their personal strengths and what makes them feel special. During meeting times, check in with students to encourage them to share their unique gifts, talents and abilities and encourage the classroom community to appreciate what each student can do and loves. If students struggle with self-identifying their own strengths, the teacher should be prepared to aid the students in this activity.
Note: This can be a special opportunity to help students discover and develop their abilities. If a student does not feel that they have something to share with the class, it might be appropriate for the teacher to discuss this privately with the student, fostering their discovery and development of their unique abilities- and their self-esteem

Materials and resourcesmore


  • Copy of A Bad Case Of Stripes


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Involve students in a Picture Walk (see Appendix 1). Have them try to determine why Camilla Cream, the main character, changes.

Reading The Story

Read the book aloud. Discuss the following and allow for student questions and reflections:

  • At first, what did you think was wrong with Camilla Cream?
  • The book said, “Camilla Cream loved lima beans. But she never ate them. All of her friends hated lima beans, and she wanted to fit in.” What does it mean to “want to fit in?” Do you think it is more important to fit in than to do something that you really like to do?
  • What are some things that children your age do to try to fit in (e.g., pretend to like something or someone, pretend to dislike someone or something, wear certain clothes, eat certain foods, etc.)?
  • What was so unusual about Camilla Cream?
  • Throughout the story, Camilla’s changed many times. Why did this happen? How many changes can you think of? (Document as appropriate.)
  • When Camilla Cream started eating lima beans again, she realized that she was “cured” and “never had even a touch of the stripes again.” What cured Camilla? What lesson did Camilla learn?
  • What would Camilla Cream’s life be like if she were never cured, if she never got over her “bad case of stripes?” Do you think she would ever be happy?
  • What would the world be like if everyone were the same, if everyone dressed the same way, ate the same foods, listened to the same music, read the same books, did the same things, etc.?

After The Story

Invite students to share something that is unique about themselves that the community might not know. To encourage and support student sharing, teachers should consider modeling this activity by sharing something the students don’t yet know about them.. Involve students in the creation of a self portrait, encouraging them to use whatever (reasonable, available) artistic medium they think can best represent how they see themselves. Frame the portraits with a caption that allows the  viewer to learn about the subject of the portrait. Reinforce their understanding that contentedness and self acceptance yields happiness and confidence.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Stripes Campaign
Create a poster campaign to wipe out “stripes.” What suggestions would you make to other children so that they won’t ever suffer from “a bad case of stripes”? Place posters around your school’s building in central locations.

Portraits of a “Bad Case of the Stripes”

Review the ways that Camilla Cream tried to “fit in.” Think of a time when you might have had a “bad case of stripes.” Draw a picture of yourself and the way your stripes would have looked when you tried to fit in. Create a title for your picture. Share pictures and talk about what advice you would give to each other and to yourselves about the importance of being you!

 Peer Pressure

Discuss peer pressure with students. Ask students to group into pairs and discuss when they have felt peer pressure, either towards making a good choice or making a poor one.

Perspective Poetry
Have student write a simulated journal entry by finishing the following statements from the point of view of one of the characters in the book, (e.g., Camilla Cream, Camilla’s mother, one of the doctors, one of the student’s in Camilla’s class, the lima bean, etc.). Have students create an illustration to accompany the entry and share their journal entries with classmates.

I Am Camilla Cream
I wonder ________________________________
I hear _________________________________
I see __________________________________
I want _________________________________
I am ___________________________________
I pretend _______________________________
I feel __________________________________
I worry ________________________________
I cry __________________________________
I say __________________________________
I dream ________________________________

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs


by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

“Blessed (is the One who) differentiates the creatures.” -Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, BT Berachot 58b


Help students recognize positive elements and characteristics in themselves and their friends.  Support the formation of healthy self concepts in all students by regularly encouraging them to appreciate the ways members of their community are similar and the ways they are different.


I’m so glad you’re you
I’m so glad I’m me
I’m so glad we live in a world with

We’ve got different ways of thinking
Different ways to use our mind
But what I know is all the same
We’re each unique, one of a kind

We’ve got different kinds of families
Different kinds of homes
But what I know is all the same
Is we are not alone
We’ve got different kinds of bodies
Different eyes and skin and hair
But what I know is all the same
Is this great world we share

Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Students are able to articulate reasons to value diversity.
Students can identify their own unique strengths.


Communicate with parents that the students are exploring the value of being content, diversity, and peer pressure in the classroom. Ask students to collect parent stories of occasions when peer pressure affected the choices they made and how that influenced their contentedness. Ask parents to collect their children’s stories about occasions when peer pressure affected the choices they made and how that influenced their contentedness. Remind parents that starting these conversations in elementary school and continuing them regularly can help family communication through the teen years.

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
One Kathryn OtoshiKathryn OtoshiRED likes to pick on BLUE. YELLOW, ORANGE, GREEN, and PURPLE don’t know what to do, but they know that RED isn’t being nice. ONE joins them when things get out of hand, and by example, shows the colors how to stand up for each other and for themselves.
Let The Whole Earth Sing Praise Tomie dePaola Inspired by biblical scripture and the folk art of theO tomi people of Puebla, Mexico, this small picture book praises the goodness and beauty of G-d’s creation. Through song-like verse and a tropical-hues collage, it extols the joy to be found everywhere you look—from land, sea, and sky to all of humanity
The Apple Tree’s Discovery* Peninnah Schram and Rachayl Eckstein DavisWendy W. LeeA little apple tree in a forest of oaks begs G-d for stars like those glimmering on the branches of the great oak trees beside her. As the seasons pass, she learns to appreciate her own gifts and realizes that it’s possible to find a star in each of us.
It Could Always Be Worse* Margot ZemachMargot ZemachOnce upon a time, a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a one-room hut. Because they were so crowded, the children often fought and the man and his wife argued. He ran to the Rabbi for help. As he follows the rabbi’s unlikely advice, the poor man’s life goes from bad to worse, with increasingly uproarious results. In his little hut, silly calamity follows foolish catastrophe, all memorably depicted in full-color illustrations that are both funnier and lovelier than any this distinguished artist has done in the past.
Zero Kathryn Otoshi Zero sees herself as a big round number with only emptiness inside. She thinks the other numbers have fun, and they count. Ultimately, Zero listens to some wise words, “‘Every number has value,” says Seven. “Be open. You’ll find a way.”
* PJ library Books