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Butter Batter Book

August 15, 2013

Butter Battle Book

Colleena Frazier, Lisa Hicks, Donna Root, and Tim Tabor


Think about a commercial, book, or movie that you have read or seen that one character is trying to do or be better than another?  For example, “This phone is better than another because…”  “This car is the best because…”  “I have this and you don’t.”  Have students think, pair, and share examples.


Students will read information about Cold War.  Show a video clip of a nuclear bomb detonating.  Discuss the pros and cons of having nuclear weapons. Because of nuclear weapons, a video was produced called, “Duck and Cover.”   After showing the first 1 ½ minutes, discuss the purpose of the video.  The Berlin Wall was built to be a barrier to divide Germany.  Show the quick video of the Berlin Wall.  (All of these concepts will be compared to The Butter Battle Book.)

Do you eat your bread with butter side up or butter side down?  Would it bother you if someone ate it differently from you? 

The Butter Battle Bookby Dr. Seuss was written in response to the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during President Ronald Reagan’s administration.  Read The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.  While reading, here are some questions to ask: “Why do the Yooks and Zooks keep getting bigger and stronger weapons?” “What do you think caused this conflict to get worse?” “What do you think the Zooks and Yooks could have done differently to prevent this conflict?”  At the end, ask, “Will anyone ever win? How? Why or why not?”


Choose one from the following activities:


 In The Butter Battle Book, the backroom boys were always making new clever contraptions.  As an ending activity, you are going to design your own clever contraption.  Your contraption needs to be used to do a job or task around your house.    Draw your contraption; explain exactly what it does and why it does it.  Make a clever name for your contraption.    Materials needed:  Paper, pencil and optional colored pencils or crayons.


Make a mind map of The Butter Battle Book.  Begin with the main concept, Communism vs. Democracy in the center.  Then branch out with concepts learned from the book.  On the Branches you can use either pictures or words to explain your thinking.  The branches should have a direct connection to the main concept.  As the branches branch out they continue to be linked to the previous concept.  Continue until you have explained what you have learned through the book.  Materials needed:  Paper, pencil and optional colored pencils or crayons.

The Butter Battle Book exemplifies conflict.  In the book, can either side ever win?  How did the conflict begin? What could have been ways to end the conflict along the way? Do you ever have conflicts within your life?  How have you successfully overcome conflicts?  Either draw a picture or write a story of one of your own conflicts.  You can make it as realistic or exaggerated as you want. 



http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1980?locale=en  The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss eThemes

http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1951?locale=en Cold War eThemes

http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/704?locale=en Author Study: Dr. Seuss eThemes

http://www.cicerohistory.com/ – Unit 14 Cold War Era – Videos – Newsreel Footage – 1. Atomic Bomb Test 2. Duck and Cover (1951) (first 1 ½ minutes of the 9 minute clip) 3. The Berlin Wall (1961-1962)

Other sources for these videos are www.schooltube.com and www.teachertube.com - type in the key words listed above.




  1. The Cold War began after which war?
  2. World War II
  3. Vietnam War
  4. Korean War
  5. World War I


  1. In which years was the Cold War NOT happening?
  2. 1960’s
  3. 1950’s
  4. 1970’s
  5. 1930’s


  1. The Cold War was mainly about
  2. A severe snow storm that caused crops to fail
  3. Democracy versus Communism
  4. The fight to find a cold and flu vaccine
  5. The atomic bomb being dropped on Japan


  1. In “The Butter Battle Book” the Yooks and the Zooks represent who?
  2. Neighbors who are at war
  3. Barack Obama and George Washington
  4. United States and Soviet Union
  5. People who butter their bread with the butter side up and those who butter it with the butter side down


  1. Duck and Cover was
  2. Donald Duck running for cover during war
  3. A Cold War movie starring a Duck
  4. The name of the atomic bomb dropped during the Cold War
  5. A Cold War video on what to do in case of an atomic bomb

Answer Key

  1. A
  2. D
  3. B
  4. C
  5. D


Cold War Basics: 

The Cold War is the name given to the relationship that developed primarily between the United States (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR) after World War Two. The cold war lasted from approximately 1945-1991.

A War of Conflicting Ideas:

 The Cold War was, for the most part, a war of two conflicting ideas about how governments meet the needs of citizens:  Democratic Capitalism and Communism. 



Democratic Capitalism:

  • Personal freedom to succeed and fail based upon personal merit, hard work, and luck. 
  • Its major flaw is that it favors the wealthy – allowing the rich to get richer while the poor remain in poverty. 



  • A reaction to the flaws of Capitalism. 
  • Seeks to provide for the economic needs of all citizens equally, by controlling businesses, prices, trade, etc. 
  • Its major flaw is that it limits the personal freedom of citizens, including freedoms of speech and the press, because the government owns and controls everything.


Opposing Goals Create Competition and Suspicion between the US and the USSR:


  • The USA and its allies: worked to promote the spread of Democratic Capitalism and prevent the spread of Communism in order to create more allies and secure power. 
  • The USSR and its allies:  worked to promote the spread of Communism and prevent the spread of Democratic Capitalism in order to create more allies and secure power. 


War between the US and USSR Could Kill Everyone:


  • Both the USA and the USSR had developed nuclear weapons that could kill millions of people almost instantly
  • The consequences of a war were horrible.  All of the people could be killed.  
  • Although the two countries became extremely distrustful of one another, and threatened to go to war with each other almost constantly, they never fought each other directly. 
  • Instead of directly going to war, they competed for political and economic influence over weaker countries in Europe, Asia, and other areas around the world. 


US and USSR Fought Indirectly through other Countries:

  • The United States and the Soviet Union provided basic economic, military, and technological support to countries that were under their influence to make sure that military conflicts ended the way they wanted. 
  • In Korea and the Vietnam War, the US and USSR sponsored opposing sides of a civil war; Communist forces that were supported by China and Russia fought against capitalist forces sponsored by the United States. 

Potential Conflict between the US and USSR Drives Arms and Technology Race:

  • Weapons technology was a major area of competition between the USA and USSR
  • The two countries felt that if they had more powerful weapons, then they could control the other country. 
  • This became ridiculous, because new weapons were developed even after it was proven that they could completely destroy each other with the weapons they already had. 
  • The pursuit of improved weapons technology eventually led to a peaceful competition between the two countries in space. 
  • Technologies for exploring space, walking in space, travelling to the moon and safely returning were made possible partly because of the countries’ desire to out-do one another.



The Berlin Wall as a Symbol of the Cold War:

  • The Cold War was often symbolized by the Berlin Wall, which separated Democratic-Capitalist West-Berlin from the rest of East Germany, which was Communist. 
  • After World War II, people began leaving East Germany because the Communist economy was failing, and because they desired the freedom that Democratic-Capitalism in West Berlin offered.  People would travel to Berlin, go from East to West Berlin, and then leave East Germany, never to return.
  • The wall was raised in 1961 to keep people from leaving East Germany through Berlin.  It was eventually torn down in 1989.
  • The Soviet Union dissolved into separate countries in 1991.  This event is widely considered the end of the Cold War.


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