Butter Battle Book

( 31 )


The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss's classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences. The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently. The timeless and topical rhyming text is an ideal way to teach young children about the issues of tolerance and respect. Whether in the home or in the classroom, The Butter Battle Book is a must-have...

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The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss's classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences. The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently. The timeless and topical rhyming text is an ideal way to teach young children about the issues of tolerance and respect. Whether in the home or in the classroom, The Butter Battle Book is a must-have for readers of all ages.

Engaged in a long-running battle, the Yooks and the Zooks develop more and more sophisticated weaponry as they attempt to outdo each other.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Dr. Seuss, pseudonym for Theodor Seuss Geisel, is world renowned for his inventiveness and wit. His stories are instantly recognizable by their use of fantastic words, clever rhymes, and unusual creatures-drawn in his distinctive style.
From the Publisher
"Dr. Seuss chronicles the feud between the Yooks and the Zooks from slingshots through sophisticated weaponry, until each side has the capacity to destroy the world. The language amuses, the drawings are zesty and humorous, and the demand for this book will be large."—School Library Journal.

"Provocative, packs an allegorical punch. The parade of increasingly elaborate (and ridiculous) armaments makes a telling point."—Booklist.  

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394965802
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1984
  • Series: Classic Seuss Series
  • Pages: 56
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.92 (w) x 11.31 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.


Now that generations of readers have been reared on The Cat in the Hat and Fox in Socks, it's easy to forget how colorless most children's books were before Dr. Seuss reinvented the genre. When the editorial cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1936, the book was turned down by 27 publishers, many of whom said it was "too different." Geisel was about to burn his manuscript when it was rescued and published, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, by a college classmate.

Over the next two decades, Geisel concocted such delightfully loopy tales as The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Horton Hears a Who. Most of his books earned excellent reviews, and three received Caldecott Honor Awards. But it was the 1957 publication of The Cat in the Hat that catapulted Geisel to celebrity.

Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read, along with a related Life magazine article, had recently charged that children's primers were too pallid and bland to inspire an interest in reading. The Cat in the Hat, written with 220 words from a first-grade vocabulary list, "worked like a karate chop on the weary little world of Dick, Jane and Spot," as Ellen Goodman wrote in The Detroit Free Press. With its vivid illustrations, rhyming text and topsy-turvy plot, Geisel's book for beginning readers was anything but bland. It sold nearly a million copies within three years.

Geisel was named president of Beginner Books, a new venture of Random House, where he worked with writers and artists like P.D. Eastman, Michael Frith, Al Perkins, and Roy McKie, some of whom collaborated with him on book projects. For books he wrote but didn't illustrate, Geisel used the pen name Theo LeSieg (LeSieg is Geisel spelled backwards).

As Dr. Seuss, he continued to write bestsellers. Some, like Green Eggs and Ham and the tongue-twisting Fox in Socks, were aimed at beginning readers. Others could be read by older children or read aloud by parents, who were often as captivated as their kids by Geisel's wit and imagination. Geisel's visual style appealed to television and film directors, too: The animator Chuck Jones, who had worked with Geisel on a series of Army training films, brought How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to life as a hugely popular animated TV special in 1966. A live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch was released in 2000.

Many Dr. Seuss stories have serious undertones: The Butter Battle Book, for example, parodies the nuclear arms race. But whether he was teaching vocabulary words or values, Geisel never wrote plodding lesson books. All his stories are animated by a lively sense of visual and verbal play. At the time of his death in 1991, his books had sold more than 200 million copies. Bennett Cerf, Geisel's publisher, liked to say that of all the distinguished authors he had worked with, only one was a genius: Dr. Seuss.

Good To Know

The Cat in the Hat was written at the urging of editor William Spaulding, who insisted that a book for first-graders should have no more than 225 words. Later, Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write a book with just 50 words. Geisel won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, though to his recollection, Cerf never paid him the $50.

Geisel faced another challenge in 1974, when his friend Art Buchwald dared him to write a political book. Geisel picked up a copy of Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! and a pen, crossed out each mention of the name "Marvin K. Mooney," and replaced it with "Richard M. Nixon." Buchwald reprinted the results in his syndicated column. Nine days later, President Nixon announced his resignation.

The American Heritage Dictionary says the word "nerd" first appeared in print in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And bring back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo / A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!" The word "grinch," after the title character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a killjoy or spoilsport.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Theodor Seuss Geisel (full name); also: Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      September 4, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      La Jolla, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2014

    Check this out.

    If you have a little child in your life and you want to know what to read to them, then look no further for the solution has arrived! You'll love all of Dr.Seuss's stories from the "The cat in the hat" to "Green eggs and ham" each one of this has a wonderful moral that will educate even the youngest of kids.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Exceptional morbid compared to the other works of Dr. Seuss but

    Exceptional morbid compared to the other works of Dr. Seuss but a necessary look into the way of world. It's outlook on the human use of war is absolutely fascinating.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Butter Battle Book: Entertaining and Educational for ALL Ages

    An important lesson is embedded in Seuss' tale of the Yooks and the Zooks: disagreements can quickly get out of hand. This lesson is of utmost value to young children who are developing social skills, and Seuss presents it in a way that children will remember for years. The book is also useful for K-12 history teachers because it provides an excellent and engaging analogy for the Cold War. Everyone should consider adding Dr. Suess' Butter Battle Book to their libraries; it brilliantly blends a story that will delight all ages with insightful lessons about history and life in general.

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    butter battle book review

    This book is about two different tribes. One tribe is the zooks and the others are the yooks. The book is for all ages from kids to teens to grandparents. This book is a great book to read before bed or maybe a book report. it shows how war isn't always the answer. The words are very weird but that is why Dr Seuss is a great writer. He uses his imagination like a child. This book is amazing for all people and I recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Still stands the test of time despite being censored when it was originally published.

    I was convinced that my grandmother (a retired children's librarian) read this to me growing up, even though my mother was certain it didn't exist.

    I ended up buying my mom a copy for her future grandchild collection to prove that Theodore Geissel did indeed write a children's book about Mutually Assured Destruction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    Amazing Teaching Tool

    I love this book and I believe it is for many ages to read. Older students and adults will be able to draw parallels between the Zooks & the Yooks and the Cold War. Younger students can be taught to respect others' beliefs. Since it has no ending, I use it to teach my second graders how to predict.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2005

    Dr. Seuss the historian

    This wonderful book, like so many of Dr. Seuss' books, is a cleverly veiled satire on the Cold War. The lessons taught in it are just as valuable to children as they are to adults. As a United States History teacher and a parent of young children, I find his books both a joy and a lesson in life. I've used this book in class as well as others like Yertle the Turtle (WWII-Hitler), The Sneeches (racism), and The Lorax (the environment). I enjoyed these books as a child and they have taken on new meaning as an adult.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2001

    Futility, Folly, and Fear from an Arms Race

    This book is the best satire of an arms race that I have ever seen. It's effectiveness is enhanced because it all starts out at a very silly level of a border guard using his Snick-Berry switch. Then things go wrong because 'a very rude Zook by the name of VanItch snuck up and slingshotted my Snick-Berry switch!' The border guard for the Yooks tells his superior. The scientists get to work, and soon an improved weapon (a Triple-Sling Jigger) is available. The Zooks counter again, and so on it goes. The names, characteristics, and illustrations of the weapons are hilarious. Then, just when you are enjoying the folly, the scientists come up with the BITSY BIG-BOY BOOMEROO, which fits in the palm of a hand. Everyone has to get into a shelter underground because it is so dangerous. ''Grandpa!' I shouted. 'Be careful Oh, gee! Who's going to drop it? Will you . . . ? Or will he . . . ? . . . We'll see. We will see . . . .'' To go from that silliness to that horror in such a short number of pages is an amazingly effective job of story telling. The book also explores how such conflicts are caused by lack of communication. There's a wall between the Yooks and the Zooks. Over the years, it gets higher and higher. So they can see a little about each other, but not talk. From what they see, they are astonished that one side eats their bread and butter with the butter-side up, while the other eats with the butter-side down. I thought that was a pretty interesting way to capture the kind of small differences that often lead to border wars. Consider the former Yugoslavian states. The primary drawback of such a story for children is that it is a chilling tale. Visions of mutual destruction are not exactly what I would want to read to a small child just before bed. However, it may be appropriate for some children who are very violent in their play and need to be reined in a little. I would suggest that it be read early in the day, however, even in such a case. For children who are sensitive and easily frightened, this book should probably be read much later in life than age 8. If this were a movie, I would suggest at least a PG-13 rating, and possibly an R. Definitely, every adult should read this book. We still live in a world where these issues are current. I hope that someday this book will seem quaint and obsolete as a characterization of human beings. Until it does, the book should be sharing its message broadly. After you have finished enjoying the book, I suggest that you consider how you can help promote international understanding. Perhaps you can at least find someone to correspond with by e-mail on the other side of the world. Better yet, can you lend a helping hand somehow? Live long and prosper . . . because of friendly, cooperative competition! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Mr. Woods is COOL!

    The Butter Battle Book is a great way to teach both children and their parents about the events of the cold war. Although Dr. Suess puts certain aspects of the Cold War into a picture book, the message is not lost. The Butter Book does well to teach anyone who reads it about the absurdity of certain events of the Cold War, such as the nuclear arms race. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for an easy way to understand the main themes of the Cold War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    The 'Better' Battle Book

    This was the first time I had the chance to read this book written by Dr. Seuss. He never ceases to amaze me with his creative and imaginative moral lessons. The Butter Battle Book critiques the absurdity of war through direct comparisons to world actions taken during and following WWII. Wars are often fought over trivial circumstances and are escalated by these fears. This fear of what is different endangers the safety of the world, a message clearly stated in this wonderful book. Dr. Seuss teaches young and old that there is no such thing as a reasonable war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    A Great Book: 'On So Many Levels'

    Although The Better Butter Book is seemingly a children¿s book complete with Suess illustrations and tongue twisting rhymes, it is truly a book meant for the adult reader. The book has the dual purpose of not only teaching youngsters to love and accept others ignoring differences but it also works as a commentary on the idiocy of war. The book delves into political trends, which have occurred through the past century, and more specifically focuses on the arms race. By stripping the events of their complexity, Suess works to simplify the issues involved in the conflict thus alerting the reader to the ridiculous nature of our ¿diplomatic¿ actions. By placing the arms race in the juvenile setting of boys attempting to one-up each other, he makes clear his feelings that the hostilities of both countries were childish to the extreme. Suess did a great job not just simplifying the arms race into events children can identify with and parents can more readily understand, but he was able to write a children¿s book that not only teaches children but informs their parents. It¿s a great book on so many levels!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Dr. Seuss Writes an Entertaining Story with a Clear Message

    The Butter Battle Book is both an enjoyable and thought-provoking story as it challenges hatred, prejudice, and war. Written in the midst of the Cold War, this book clearly criticizes the Berlin Wall and the Arms Race. In a time of unending propaganda for hatred of the 'enemy', this book is contrarily propaganda for peace and tolerance. Although the Cold War is now over, the Butter Battle's message remains relevant, as it shows how wasteful and unnecessary war and fear can be. This book should be read by all ages as a reminder that humanity not only has the power to create war, but also to create peace and new attitudes that will produce a better world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2001

    Great Book

    This is a great book that teaches young children the importance of peaceful coexistence and accepting differences. The two different groups hated and distrusted each other just because of the way they buttered their bread. Children should learn the absurdity of such distrust and accept the fact that other people can be different. This book also teaches the adults that read it to their children the importance of diplomacy and the risks of an arms race. Adults should realize that an arm race with the Soviet Union in 1984 could result in more distrust between nations and a larger chance for a nuclear war. Dr. Sues is able to successfully spread his beliefs through simple children¿s stories; this may influence many to accept his simple message of peaceful coexistence instead of an arms race and eventually a nuclear war. By Maciej Siedlecki

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Suess Gets Serious (Sort of)

    While the style of this book clearly appeals to young children, its content is intended for all audiences. Using his signature sing-song style, Suess makes the evils of stereotypes and violence accessible to kids while at the same time demonstrating to adults how absurd it was for the nation to allow these themes to create the Cold War. The fact that the Butter Battle is such a thinly disguised allusion to this period in history reinforces how silly Suess considers the whole ordeal. If it can be that easily modified into a children's story, then it obviously was not terribly important to begin with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Another Classic by Seuss

    In The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss masterfully relates his thoughts on the nuclear arms race. The disagreement between the Yooks and the Zooks over how they butter their bread--one 'butter-side up' and the other 'butter-side down'--turning into a battle shows Dr. Seuss' dislike for superficial disputes. The Yooks and the Zooks hurry to develop more powerful weapons, until . . . I guess you'll have to read the book. The underlying theme to the book is the absurdity of battle; Dr. Seuss tries to convey that people must overcome their pride to live in peace. Allusions to the Cold War like the wall dividing the Yooks and Zooks add to the realistic element that most of Dr. Seuss' books lack. Overall, The Butter Battle Book is an enjoyable read for all ages, and has extra delight for those who have studied the Cold War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    The Real Slim Seuss

    Dr. Seuss is a fantastic author; he has imagination, story-telling abilities, and a wonderful and clever sense of political activism. I was telling my history teacher about all the not-so-hidden political messages in all of his works and this work is the perfect example of Dr. Seuss's writing style. The Butter Battle Book has many different levels for what is so often called a children's book from an acclaimed so-called children's author. The battle between Yooks and Zooks over which way butter goes on bread gives children a good, simple, but true story about dealing with petty differences in a constructive way. Otherwise, bad things can happen, like war. That meaning is very good for children to learn and this is a great book to teach kids with. However, adults reading this book can see the obvious historical parallels and the deeper implications of the story line. The pettiness behind the conflict of the Cold War is Dr. Seuss's vehicle for conveying the astounding destructive potential behind a war where the enemies lose sight of their true goals and meaninglessly try to 'out do' each other. The war ends up getting fought for the wrong reasons and something that we will forever regret and can never take back may happen. This is a very real danger and the prejudice attached to battles like the one in this book eat away at our morals, our societies, and our motives. Dr. Seuss has done the world a wonderful lesson by showing this to children and adults alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Good Book with Double Meaning

    Dr Suess has a great talent for explaining complicated issues in terms that even a child could understand. His way of simplifying the tensions of the Cold War in The Butter Battle Book allows the reader to see the true nature of American conflict with other nations. This book represents several of the key issues in the Cold War. The tension between the nations involved in it created a fear so grand that its implications involved world destruction. The ending of The Butter Battle Book symbolized the heights to which nerves brought the Cold War. In addition, the story also symbolizes the element of propaganda in the War. The opposing sides in the book no longer remember what they are truly fighting for; propaganda serves as their only reason. In fact, the book itself represents and element of propaganda in its anti-war statement. Ultimately, this tale is important for both children and adults. On the literal level, it is a simple story of opponents and their fight; symbolically, it is the tale of the Cold War as a whole.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!

    The Butter Battle Book is a brilliant work of political satire. While teaching children the virtues of tolerance and cooperation, The Butter Battle Book is aimed more at parents. The conflict between the butter side-uppers and their enemies, is a thinly veiled depiction of the nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Author, Dr. Seuss, masterfully reduces the Cold War to it's essence, revealing the banality and hypocricy of the conflict. By reducing the nuclear arms race to such a simplistic and childish foundation, Seuss effectively conveys his anti-war message. The Butter Battle Book teaches both children and adults alike the importance of accpetance. A must read for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Butter Battle Book- Simply Good

    This is a very simplistic, yet powerful book. Dr. Seuss weaves his views on the nuclear arms race and peaceful coexistence into a very straight forward, easy to understand plot in which two opposing fictional groups dispute over how the other group butters their bread. This is a great book because it does not bombard the reader with technicalities about Dr. Seuss' view, but rather seeks to portray an overall message of tolerance for other's viewpoints and peace. Children are able to see the message clearly and are taught that differing views are acceptable and should not be viewed with downcast eyes. Adults are also taught the same lesson, although the lesson they see may relate more closely or specifically to events such as the arms race and war with the Soviets. Overall, Dr. Seuss does a tremndous job of executing his message with clarity and simplicity. The book is extremely effective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2000

    Sweet book!

    This book is totally wonderful and sweet!

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