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The Butter Battle Book
by Rick

One of my favourite authors is Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. I was reintroduced to Dr. Seuss when, by chance, I read "The Lorax" to my daughter in the local bookstore. Although it was first published a year after I was born, and I vaguely recalled the story being read to me in my primary school years, it did not have an impact on me until just recently. Since first reading "The Lorax", I have sought out other tales by this creative and insightful author. Most recently, I requested and received as a gift "The Butter Battle Book". I cannot say it is one of my favourite stories by Dr. Seuss, but it does have a message we can all appreciate.

The story begins with a young boy visiting a wall with his grandfather. The wall separates two nations, the Yooks and the Zooks, that have fought for generations over the issue of whether butter should be spread on top of toast or on the bottom. The grandfather recounts how the dispute escalates into an arms race between the two nations and how this people, the Right-Side-Up Song Girls, rally around their hero as the Yook tries to outdo his Zook nemesis.  His boss, the Chief Yookeroo,  has the "Boys in the Back Room" design and build a more complex weapon. It is interesting how the Zooks always seem to come up with a weapon that is equally effective and sometimes even exactly the same. Obviously, there is spying going on. The story ends suddenly, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next. While the solution to this silly dilemma is clear to a seven-year-old, adults and nations often find the solution not so simple.

Despite the intentionally unsatisfying ending, I recommend readers to check this book out. Like all Mr. Geisel's books, it is carefully illustrated, with interesting characters, clever poetry and a relevant message. Don't be misled by the fact that this book is in the children's section of the library. Dr. Seuss's books are enjoyed by young and old alike. As he once said "I don't write books for children; I write them for people.

Theodore Geisel would be 109 years old on March 2.

Video of the Butter Battle Book being read by a computer

Animated Video


(February 17, 2013)

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Weekly Feature Index

(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)