THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK
A parable of armaments escalation--from the Snick-Berry Switch to the Big-Boy Boomeroo--whose high-level meaning no child can miss. This anti-nuke message in Seussian terms has one point of difference with such earlier anti-war picturebooks as William Wondriska's The Tomato Patch: it doesn't end in amity, but with the enemy Yooks and Zooks both poised to drop their bombs--and the grandson of the bomb-wielding Yook looking aghast. But, like previous embodiments of the theme, this one reduces the rivalry to a petty, nonsensical difference--the titular Butter Battle. Yooks, that is, spread their bread with the butter side up; Zooks, with the butter side down. (A perverse notion, the pictures demonstrate.) The actual weapons escalation involves some wild Seussian creations and some characteristic manic glee. Says Zook-rep VanItch (note the name): "My wonderful weapon, the Jigger-Rock Snatchem, will fling 'em right back as quick as we catch 'em./We'll have no more nonsense./We'll take no more gupp/from you Yooks who eat bread with the butter side up!" But in the aftermath of wide exposure to The Day After and other 1980s arousals, all this seems, however well-intended, a little simplistic, a little out-of-date, even a little out-of-keeping.