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review 2015-03-10 21:12
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss) - Dr. Seuss

I did not read this book until high school, a good time to be introduced to the ideas behind the Butter Battle. Like You're Only Old Once!, this book is more for adults than children. I use to think they were outliers but after reading Dr. Seuss Goes to War, I learned he had a history of political comics and humor. That comes out quite a bit here.

 

A man is telling his grandson why the Yooks and Zooks are in conflict. The former eat butter side up bread while the later eat it with the butter side down. The tale goes on to show the escalation of the war as uniforms grow grander and weapons grow deadlier. The last weapon threatens all life and each side has one, waiting to drop it...

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url 2014-01-22 15:23
"The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Reader" by COLIN ROBINSON

Colin Robinson in The New York Times laments about how we as a society are finding it harder and harder to focus on reading and on good books.  He attributes this to the overwhelming number of books being produced and the failing institutions where you might be able to find suggestions on what books to be reading (i.e. the library, the brick book store, the book reviewer).

 

I, being a bit of a purist, tend to lean with Mr. Robinson’s point of view on this.  I think the new media outlet options of iPads, iPhones, Kiddles, Nooks, iBooks, and other assorted digital readers are great for portability and opening the reading world to, possibly, a new set of readers.  This comes with price though.  With digital reducing the prices in book (which is a good thing) we start losing the “brick and mortar” stores, libraries are becoming used less and less, and with the failing of the print newspaper, they are cutting back in areas and one of them is for the book reviewer, who can also be replaced by all the reviews that are listed on the web page, which can be easily manipulated by either supporters of the authors or, more likely, the publishing companies.

 

I will diverge a bit from Mr. Robinson’s conclusions when he says, “Overall book sales have been anemic in recent years, declining 6 percent in the first half of 2013 alone.”  I would pose this question; there has been a (unnecessarily) prolonged fiscal crisis in our country with a high number of unemployed, how much of that decline is due to people cutting back on their entertainment budgets?

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review 2013-10-02 09:36
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss) - Dr. Seuss

Genre: War / Food / Satire

 

Year Published: 1984

 

Year Read: 1996

 

 

Being a huge fan of Dr. Seuss’ works over the years, I was in that mode where I wanted to read everything that was written by him and I remembered reading “The Butter Battle Book” many years ago when I was little.  Well, I stumbled upon “The Butter Battle Book” again when I got older and at first, I was a little hesitant about reading this book again because of its war themes and I usually do not like reading books about wars, but after reading this classic book by Dr. Seuss, I actually found myself really enjoying this book!  “The Butter Battle Book” is definitely one of Dr. Seuss’ most impactful and darkest stories ever told!

 

 

The book starts off with a grandfather character telling his grandson about the great battle between the Zooks (orange uniformed people who ate their bread with the butter side down) and the Yooks (blue uniformed people who ate their breads with the butter side up).  The battle between the Zooks and the Yooks started when one of the Zooks shoots off the grandfather’s Snick-Berry Switch with a slingshot and the grandfather goes to Chief Yookeroo to get a better weapon that can beat out the weapon of the Zooks.  Unfortunately, the Zooks keep on making better weapons than the Yooks, while the Yooks constantly try to build a better weapon to match with the Yooks’ weapon, which causes the book to come to a surprising conclusion!

 

Wow…just wow…

 

Who would have ever thought that I would ever come across a Dr. Seuss book that discusses about war?  Well, I have come across other Dr. Seuss books that have a heavy message (“The Lorax” and “The Sneetches”), but this was what I called one of Dr. Seuss’s darkest books since it discusses about a topic that is often serious to many children…WAR.  It was also surprising that this book was actually a parody of the Cold War (the war between the United States and the Soviet Union) as both the Zooks and the Yooks tried to best each other with having a better weapon than the other side.  Even though I do not usually read books that have war themes because of the whole “only one side can win in this war” mentality that is constantly being shown in these types of books, this was one of the few war books that I had read that actually had a brilliant moral to the story:

 

WAR I S POINTLESS!

 

Since the premise of this book is about how both sides do not like each other because they spread their butters a different way on their breads, you might be thinking to yourself about how ridiculous this all is and why both sides could not reach a compromise about spreading their butter on both sides of the breads.  But, what I loved about the way that Dr. Seuss wrote this book was that both sides were not portrayed in a positive light since the Zooks seem like bullies and the Yooks are prejudiced towards the Zooks for buttering their breads differently and that might sound a bit odd, but it was appropriate enough to bring the theme of this book home.  The reason why I have such a huge dislike for wars is because both sides that participate in the wars can be shown in a negative light if they believe that fighting is the only solution to whatever problem arises instead of sitting down and talking about the problem and coming to a reasonable solution that can benefit both sides.  I loved the way that Dr. Seuss made a statement about how ridiculous the war between the Zooks and the Yooks really was because having a war about who has the best weapons seems like a ridiculous reason for countries to fight each other and we can easily see that through the Zooks and Yooks’ actions throughout this book.  Dr. Seuss’ illustrations may look a bit darker than usual, but still has the usual creative flair as the Zooks are always shown in orange jumpsuits while the Yooks are always shown in blue jumpsuits and I also loved the different weapons that each side has, especially the Zooks’ weapon that was called the Eight-Nozzled, Elephant-Toted Boom-Blitz which looks like a machine that has eight nozzles and is being carried by two mean looking purple elephants.

 

Probably one of the most controversial things about this book was the abrupt ending.  I will not tell you what happens at the end since I do not want to spoil this book for anyone, but you will be left wondering about what happens next after the events of this book.  I will admit that I was actually mad at how the book ended, but then since this book was written during the Cold War, it is understandable about why the book ended the way it did.  It makes me wonder about if they ever thought about making a “Butter Battle Book” movie, will the conclusion be changed in the movie and how will they go about it?  Also, the theme about the Zooks and the Yooks going at war with each other might be a bit disturbing for younger children, especially if they do not understand about the motives of wars or if they do not like seeing characters fighting each other.

 

Overall, “The Butter Battle Book” is easily one of the best books about anti-war ever written and anyone who is a fan of Dr. Seuss’ works or would love to read about how terrible wars are will definitely not be disappointed in this book!  I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the war themes might upset younger children.

 


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2013-06-29 23:31
Are you an 80s child? Take a trip down memory lane
The New York Times: The Times of the Eighties: The Culture, Politics, and Personalities That Shaped the Decade - William Grimes

I have a new review on my personal blog, The Itinerant Librarian. Feel free to check it out and learn more. Excerpt:

 

"For those of us who lived through the decade, this is a trip down memory lane. For those born later, it's a basic summary and explanation of the decade's significance. For instance, many of the inventions we take from granted today came about or took shape in the 80s."

 

Click here to read the rest of the review.

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review 2013-03-03 00:00
The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss)
The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss) - Dr. Seuss Fantastic book for kids! So imaginative and creative. Easy read that children will find delightful!

Dr. Seuss is always brilliant! His stories and rhymes are fun and entertaining! Some of my all time favorites!! Such a great way to entertain children and get them interested in reading!
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