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The Butter Battle Book - Dr. Seuss

February 24, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

Butter-side down or up? It's a battle over buttered toast!

The Butter Battle Book, from Oceanhouse Media, was published by Dr. Seuss in print in 1984. It was named a New York Times Notable Book, and is about the Yooks and Zooks, who do not get along because one group eats their toast butter-side up while the other group is known to eat toast only butter-side down. Overall The Butter Battle Book, is an award-winning tale that will be a treat for young readers, with digital enhancements that give it a modern feel without losing any of the charm of the print title. It also has a strong social message, similar to other Seuss books like The Lorax and Horton Hear's a Who. According to Wikipedia:

"This book was written during the Cold War era, and reflects the concerns of the time, especially the perceived possibility that all life on earth could be destroyed in a nuclear war. It can also be seen as a satirical work, with its depiction of a deadly war based on a senseless conflict over something as trivial as a breakfast food. The concept of a war based on toast is similar to the war betweenLilliput and Blefuscu in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, which was nominally based on the correct end to crack an egg once soft boiled."

Every one of Dr. Seuss' stories has been seamlessly translated into a new digital classic by Oceanhouse Media. Enhancements are primarily educational and focused on word recognition, although lots of interesting sound effects connect the images with word meanings for young listeners. Great narration with highlighting word-by-word reinforces the text and if a child taps on any word, it is spoken again (tap-to-hear) for additional text reinforcement. If you tap on an image in the illustrations, the word will appear with accompanying audio. And as a bonus, if that image is present in the text of the page, that word will highlight again, too.

This book has the detailed and colorful illustrations that make Seuss books so popular, but like most Dr. Seuss OmBook apps, this title isn't animated. However, most pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each chunk of text in a nicely paced reading experience. Extra features include the ability to record your own narration as well as excellent navigation with a nice visual thumbnail page guide. Ample settings allow adults to set the book up with or without audio and interactive elements. Links that leave the app are contained exclusively in the 'info' section under a parental gate that requires fluid reading and following complex directions.

The Butter Battle Book is a delightful read, made even more accessible to a new generation with digital enhancements well-suited to a modern audience. The messages within Seuss books can be subtle, making for rich converstations with young people and engaging extension activities in classroom settings. In print and digital, Dr. Seuss is tops with young and old alike, precisely because his books make learning to read (and reading to learn) FUN!

Highly Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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The Butter Battle Book - Dr. Seuss

February 24, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Dr. Seuss

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
12 - 15 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 4 - 9 +

English •

Length (pages):
27 Pages


Story Synopsis - The Butter Battle Book - Dr. Seuss

Join the Yooks and Zooks in this interactive book app as they argue over eating bread with the butter-side up or butter-side down! Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the story with your own narration. Who will win the great battle between the Yooks and Zooks in the end? [Source: iTunes]

The Butter Battle Book tells the story of a land where two hostile cultures, the Yooks and the Zooks, live on opposite sides of a long curving wall, fairly similar to the Berlin Wall. The Yooks wear blue clothes; the Zooks wear orange. The main dispute between the two cultures is that the Yooks eat their bread with the butter-side up, while the Zooks eat their bread with the butter-side down. The conflict between the two sides leads to an escalating arms race, each competing to make bigger and better weapons to outdo the other, which results in the threat of mutual assured destruction.

The race begins when a Zook named Van Itch slingshots the Yooks' "Tough-Tufted Prickly Snick-Berry Switch", which could be used to give Zooks a twitch if they dared to come close to the wall, which was guarded by "the Zook-Watching Border Patrol". The Yooks then develop a machine with three slingshots interlinked, called a "Triple-Sling Jigger". This works once (Van Itch got scared and ran off), but the Zooks counterattack with their own creation: The "Jigger-Rock Snatchem", a machine with three nets to fling the rocks fired from the Triple-Sling Jigger back at the Yooks' side "just as fast as we catch 'em".

The Yooks then discover that slingshots are old-fashioned, and create a gun called the "Kick-A-Poo Kid", loaded with "powerful Poo-A-Doo powder and ants' eggs and bees' legs and dried-fried clam chowder", and toted by a dog named Daniel, the country's "first gun-totingspaniel". The Zooks counterattack with an "Eight-Nozzled Elephant-Toted Boom Blitz", a machine that shoots "high-explosive sour cherry stone pits, and will put your dumb Kick-A-Poo Kid on the fritz".

The Yooks then devise a machine called the "Utterly Sputter", a large blue mechanical device with two very tall mechanical legs, a cabin which resembles that of a rotorless helicopter's, and four faucets on the back, whose main purpose was to "sprinkle blue goo all over the Zooks". But the Zooks counterattack with a Sputter identical to the Yooks'. Eventually, each side possesses a small but extremely destructive red bomb called the "Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo" (a reference to the naming of the two atom bombs dropped by the US — "Fat Man" and "Little Boy"), the smallest weapon of all, and neither has any defense against it. The TV special (see below) demonstrates the development of the weapon in a mysterious and somewhat frightening mad scientist-style song (complete with living goo, floating rings, ghosts, snakes and exploding chemical flasks).

No resolution is reached by the book's end, with the generals of both sides on the wall poised to drop their bombs and waiting to see who will do it first. The question is left hanging for the reader to answer by his or her actions, much like the question "UNLESS" at the end of Dr. Seuss' book, The Lorax. The book thus departs from the commonly accepted approach to children's writing, of positive themes and resolution of the plot's conflict by the end of the story. [Source: Wikipedia]


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, AutoPlay, SFX/Music Volume Control, Record Narration, Page Guide, Info w/ Links: (under parental gate) to: AppStore, Web, Email, FB, Twitter

App Release Date:


Size: 34.6 MB

Version: 2.4

Lite Version Available: No



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