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Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Butter Battle Book - Dr Seuss

This book is a blast from the past, but I had never read it!  I have just recently purchased this after several teachers asked if we had it in the library.  After reading it, I can understand why teachers want this book at hand.

Amazon states that 'this book's message is far from obsolete'.  I have to whole heartedly agree.

I don't normally enjoy Seuss books.  The are a bit too far from the ordinary for me, but I appreciate their popularity.  I had a few Seuss books growing up and I share them with young students often. This book is one of Dr. Seuss's cautionary tales.  Who would have thought that an author with such a silly sense of humour would also leave us with timeless messages of humanity?

This is a book for all ages.  Young students can be introduced to the age old question of why groups of people can never get along.  Older students can discuss allegory after reading.  This is an allegory of the Cold War but it can easily be an allegory of many global conflicts that are presently happening in the world today.

Remember!  An allegory is a story, poem or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or politcial one

All ages, however can learn an important lesson about respecting differences.  The Yooks and the Zooks do not respect each other and the reason is ridiculous.  The reasons for many global conflicts may seem strange to us in the West, but just like the Zooks and Zoinks, their way of life is deemed to be under attack.  Another discussion point would be to discuss the intolerance of each group and how they should have shown mutual respect.  The small issues in the story quickly escalate into some very serious retaliation that gets out of hand.   

Beyond discussion, this book could be a starting point to study groups of people in the world that are in conflict and why.  Also, The Butter Battle Book does not have an ending.  A writing activity could be for students to write their own ending.  Or students could discuss the significance of Dr. Seuss not writing an ending.  What was the author trying to tell us?  An inferencing opportunity.

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