The butter’s on the wall

Germany has been in the news a lot in the last week, and all because of the most important of subjects – HISTORY.

For one, they finally paid back all the money they owed France and the other sore winners of the First World War. It’s already 92 years since the fighting stopped, but WWI is now officially over.

For two, it’s been 20 years since West and East German got back together after several decades apart. It’s such a big deal that even Russian president Medvedev said congrats

Although there is all this talk of history and conflict, there is one name missing in all the chatter that really deserves to be mentioned. And that name is, of course, Dr. Suess.

In 1984, the children’s author published what might be the most important work on the Cold War of all time: The Butter Battle Book.  I don’t want to ruin the storyline for you if you haven’t read it, but to give you an idea:

There’s a wall. On one side live the Zooks. On the other live the Yooks. The big difference between them is that one group butter their toast on the top side of a slice of bread, while the other BUTTERS IT ON THE BOTTOM. As you might expect, things escalate quickly and an arms race between the two groups ensues. Soon slingshots are replaced by flying machines, and then it gets even worse (think nuclear weapons).  

Yesterday, I read the book to elementary school kids. When I was their age, the Berlin Wall had only been knocked down for a few years, and we had to walk up hills both ways on the five mile walk home through the snow. Hopefully when the elementary school kids of today are the age I am now (aka the prime of life) thoughts of walls built up between people and conflict over the way butter is put on a piece of bread is an even more distant memory.

Kent and Kaitlin – thanks for the photos

Daniel – thanks for telling me about this book.

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5 Comments on “The butter’s on the wall”

  1. Will Gilgan Says:

    never saw them while they’re standing, never saw them when they fell.

  2. Daniel grigat Says:

    This would also make a good premise for a Suess book on gay rights.

  3. Lindsey Heslop Says:

    Hey Rylan, just thought I’d tell you that their is also an animated cartoon on you-tube of this book that is pretty great to watch. It comes in 3 parts and is about 30 minutes long total. I showed it to my grade 11 students and they got a lot out of it.

    The music alone is worth the watch.

    This is a neat article on the cold war as well since it shows before’s and after’s of different parts of the wall:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/11/09/world/europe/20091109-berlinwallthennow.html


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