The Butter Battle Book: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Jill Purdy
Sometimes people think they are right and that everyone else is WRONG! That is what the Yooks and the Zooks think in the ''The Butter Battle Book'' by Dr. Seuss. In this lesson, learn about their disagreement and what can happen when ideas collide.

Walls Around the World

Walls serve as barriers. They may be made of various materials from concrete to wood. They can be very high and long or small and short.

The Great Wall of China was built a very long time ago to prevent invasions and to keep enemies out. Some walls were built to keep people in, like the Berlin Wall in Germany built in the 1960s. Today, even the United States has a fence to keep the people of Mexico from coming into the U.S. illegally.

Great Wall of China (left) and Berlin Wall (right)
Great Wall of China and Berlin Wall

In The Butter Battle Book, there is a conflict between the Yooks and the Zooks over how to butter bread.

A conflict is clash or serious disagreement. The Yooks think that everyone should eat bread with the butter side up. The Zooks think that everyone should eat bread with the butter side down. Both sides think their way is the right and only way. A wall is built to keep the Yooks and Zooks apart.

Plot Summary

As the story begins, a grandfather Yook and his grandson walk to the great wall. The grandfather begins to tell the story of why this great wall was built. He told the young Yook that they do not like the Zooks, because they do not eat their buttered bread the right way.

At the start, the wall was not so high and a Zook and a Yook could look each other in the eye. The Yooks did not trust the Zooks and the Zooks did not trust the Yooks. As time passed, the conflict became more intense.

So, the Yooks built a weapon to keep the Zooks away, called the Snick-Berry Switch. In return, the Zooks created a bigger weapon, the Jigger-Rock Snatchem, to keep the Yooks away. As the story continues, the wall got taller and the weapons more dangerous!

One day, the Yooks and the Zooks each build a bomb so terrible it could destroy both sides. In the end, both a Yook and a Zook hold their bombs at the wall and we are left to imagine what could happen.

The grandson yells, ''Be careful. Oh gee, who will drop it? We will see.''

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