The casual observer would believe that most Dr. Seuss books are filled with wonderful rhymes and pictures but that’s all. The casual observer, however, doesn’t realize that not only are Dr. Seuss childrens books filled with great drawings and colorful characters, but that they’re also filled with lessons for children to learn, and not just the same type of “always say please and thank you” lessons that most books for young children say, but lessons about life and social situations that can help children learn more about themselves and the world around them.
The Butter Book is a lesser known Dr. Seuss book that teaches children about intolerance and about how fighting can escalate quickly. It’s about the Yooks and the Zooks. A Zook grandfather tells his grandchild about how the Yooks butter their bread differently than the Zooks do. In The Butter Book , this causes a huge ruckus which starts with small things being thrown over the wall that separates the villages, and escalates to larger things being thrown across and slingshots being used to hurl things to the other side.
While The Butter Book doesn’t end the same way in many Dr. Seuss books, it does give children some room to think. The unique, leave-you-hanging ending allows children to come up with their own interpretation as to what will happen between the villages, and opens the door for parents to talk to their children about how violence is never the answer, especially when the violence starts over something as silly as buttered bread.