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Officer Buckle & Gloria (CALDECOTT MEDAL BOOK) Hardcover – September 28, 1995
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Officer Buckle is a roly-poly bloke, dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. The problem is, Officer Buckle's school assemblies are dull, dull, dull, and the children of Napville just sleep, sleep, sleep. That is, until Gloria the police dog is invited along! Stealthily pantomiming each safety tip behind Officer Buckle's back, Gloria wins the children's hearts. Meanwhile Officer Buckle assumes the cheers and laughter are all for him. As the master comedian Jerry Lewis once explained, every slapstick artist needs a straight man! Children will be highly entertained by the laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations in this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner, while learning the value of teamwork and a pawful of nifty safety tips. (Ages 4 to 8) --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Rathmann (Good Night, Gorilla) brings a lighter-than-air comic touch to this outstanding, solid-as-a-brick picture book. Officer Buckle, a mustachioed policeman who wears a crossed-out-banana-peel patch on his sleeve, has a passion for teaching students about safety, but his audiences tend to doze off during his lectures. They awaken, however, when police dog Gloria joins Buckle onstage. As Buckle speaks, Gloria-behind Buckle's back-mimes each safety lesson (e.g., leaping sky-high for "Never leave a thumbtack where you might sit on it!" and making her fur stand on end to illustrate "Do not go swimming during electrical storms!"). School safety increases tenfold and Buckle and Gloria find themselves in great demand. But when he finally learns of his sidekick's secret sideshow, Buckle's feelings are terribly hurt. Rathmann's high-voltage cartoons, outlined in black ink for punchy contrast, capture her characters' every feeling, from Gloria's hammy glee and Buckle's surprised satisfaction to Gloria's shame at having tricked her partner. In a sound and sensitive conclusion, Gloria's disastrous attempt to go solo inspires Buckle's "best safety tip yet": "Always stick with your buddy!" As a bonus, equally sage sayings decorate the volume's endpapers. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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That all changes when Gloria, the new police dog, joins Officer Buckle for one of his safety lectures. As far as Officer Buckle knows, Gloria just sits next to him on stage and smiles. But the moment his back is turned, she's acting out each of his safety tips -- such as "NEVER leave a THUMBTACK where you might SIT on it!" Not only are the kids paying attention, they're laughing, cheering, and -- best of all -- putting into practice what they learn in the lecture! Suddenly every school in town wants a safety lecture.
Everything goes well until Officer Buckle catches a story about their lectures on the 10 o'clock news. There he is on TV, pronouncing safety tip ninety nine ("Don't go swimming during an electrical storm") with as much emphasis as he can muster, and there's Gloria, stealing the show. Not only does that incident lead to safety tip one hundred ("Never turn your back on a strange dog"), but it signals the end of Officer Buckle's association with Gloria.
Gloria does the next safety lecture on her own, and it's so boring even she falls asleep. Afterwards, the school has it's worst accident ever. Officer Buckle and Gloria realize they need each other to get their safety message across. As Officer Buckle says in safety tip one hundred and one, "Always work with a buddy."
The sight gags in Peggy Rathmann's illustrations helped earn this book a Caldecott Medal. They also contain a lot of practical safety information, which makes this book a great place to start for a discussion on safety, as well as for a discussion on teamwork and partnership