Value: Tolerance

Time: 20 min

Appropriate Ages: 7-100


  • Book: The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss

  • For 7-12 year old lesson plan: 

    • one brown egg​

    • one white egg

    • bowl


  1. Read the story, stopping at the following pages in the story to ask these discussion questions:

This activity integrates literacy with:



Is it a terrible thing to eat bread with the butter side down?

Why or why not?

Does it make them bad people?

Why do you predict the wall was built?


What does it mean that a Zook has kinks in his soul?

Is there something a person could do that could actually kink their soul?

If so, what kinds of things do you think

could kink your soul?

Do you think watching the Zooks made them want to change their ways?

Do you think watching Zooks on border control is a good idea? Why or why not?


Why do you think VanItch slingshot the switch?

What kind of feelings must have led him to do that?

Do those feelings justify a slingshot?


What is the biggest problem for why they don't want to talk to each other again?

Do you think this machine helps solve that problem?

What will be the consequences of using this machine?


Even though putting butter on a certain side of the bread is silly, these people feel very serious about it.

Is it okay to feel serious about something silly?

When is it okay? When is it not okay?

Is there anything in your life that other people think is very serious (they sing songs or chant chants about it), but you think it's silly?


Is it a good idea for the Yooks to go underground?

Why or why not?

What problems does going underground solve?

If a Yook thought it was silly to go underground, what should they do or say? 


What have you noticed has changed about the officer's office from the beginning of the book until now?

How has his expression and attitude changed too?


What was the original problem in the book?

Do you see the solution to the problem in the way the book ends? 

Why or why not?

If you could rewrite this book to have an even better solution for all the Yooks and the Zooks, how would you rewrite it?

Do the following extension activity based on age level/focus interest:

Focus on tolerance in general, preferred for ages 7-12:

1. Display a brown egg and a white egg. Ask what the differences are. Do these differences matter? Why might they be bad or good differences to some people?

2. Crack both eggs open and show the interiors of the eggs in a bowl. Are the interiors of the eggs the same or different? Why or why not?

3. Explain how just like with eggs, there are many different people on Earth that all look and act very indifferent on the outside. Ask what some of these differences are. Ask how people are all the same on the inside.

4. Just like there could have been a better solution for the Zooks and the Yooks, what are better solutions for humans who strongly disagree with other humans? Have the children seen this ever happen to them or someone they know in their life? Was the problem solved in a way that showed tolerance or a way that shoed bigotry?

History Integration Focus, preferred for ages 13+ learning history:

1. Watch this short movie on how the Cold War Happened, for those without a background in it already. After finishing, discuss similarities and differences between the Cold War and the Butter Battle. Do you think Dr. Seuss may have been alluding to the Cold War in his book? Why or why not? What do you think Dr. Seuss was most trying to convey with his book?