David Shannon is the internationally acclaimed creator of more than 30 picture books, including No, David!, a Caldecott Honor Book and his second New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and four more David picture books. Shannon's bestsellers include A Bad Case of Stripes, Duck on a Bike, and Too Many Toys. His most recent book was the New York Times bestseller Grow Up, David!. He lives in Southern California with his family and Roy, their West Highland White Terrier.
K-Gr 2‘A highly original moral tale acquires mythic proportions when Camilla Cream worries too much about what others think of her and tries desperately to please everyone. First stripes, then stars and stripes, and finally anything anyone suggests (including tree limbs, feathers, and a tail) appear vividly all over her body. The solution: lima beans, loved by Camilla, but disdained for fear they'll promote unpopularity with her classmates. Shannon's exaggerated, surreal, full-color illustrations take advantage of shadow, light, and shifting perspective to show the girl's plight. Bordered pages barely contain the energy of the artwork; close-ups emphasize the remarkable characters that inhabit the tale. Sly humor lurks in the pictures, too. For example, in one double-page spread the Creams are besieged by the media including a crew from station WCKO. Despite probing by doctors and experts, it takes "an old woman who was just as plump and sweet as a strawberry" to help Camilla discover her true colors. Set in middle-class America, this very funny tale speaks to the challenge many kids face in choosing to act independently.‘Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
On this disturbing book's striking dust jacket, a miserable Betty-Boop-like girl, completely covered with bright bands of color, lies in bed with a thermometer dangling from her mouth. The rainbow-hued victim is Camilla Cream, sent home from school after some startling transformations: "when her class said the Pledge of Allegiance, she turned red, white, and blue, and she broke out in stars!" Scientists and healers cannot help her, for after visits from "an old medicine man, a guru, and even a veterinarian... she sprouted roots and berries and crystals and feathers and a long furry tail." The paintings are technically superb but viscerally troubling‘especially this image of her sitting in front of the TV with twigs and spots and fur protruding from her. The doe-eyed girl changes her stripes at anyone's command, and only nonconformity can save her. When she finally admits her unspeakable secret‘she loves lima beans‘she is cured. Shannon (How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball) juggles dark humor and an anti-peer-pressure message. As her condition worsens, Camilla becomes monstrous, ultimately merging with the walls of her room. The hallucinatory images are eye-popping but oppressive, and the finale‘with Camilla restored to her bean-eating self‘brings a sigh of relief. However, the grotesque images of an ill Camilla may continue to haunt children long after the cover is closed. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)