HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Officer Buckle and Gloria
Author and Illustrator: Peggy Rathmann
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 1995
ISBN-13: 978-0399226168 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0399226168 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0590925693 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0590925695 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Rathmann, Peggy. Officer Buckle and Gloria (published in 1995 by Putnam Juvenile). Officer Buckle is a roly-poly, mustachioed policeman who is dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. He knows more about safety than anyone else. The problem is that his school assemblies are dull, and the children of Napville just doze. Then Gloria the police dog is brought along. Secretly mimicking each safety tip behind Officer Buckle’s back, 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!”, Gloria makes the kids laugh and cheer. Meanwhile Officer Buckle assumes that the cheers and laughter are all for him. School safety increases as Buckle and Gloria find themselves in great demand. But when the officer finally learns of his sidekick’s little sideshow, Buckle’s feelings are terribly hurt.
This 1996 Caldecott Medal winner combines a beguiling story with laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations of high-voltage cartoons, outlined in black ink for punchy contrast, to make a glorious picture book for young children with interesting little details like the crossed-out-banana-peel patch on Buckle’s sleeve. Gloria’s disastrous attempt to go it alone inspires Buckle’s “best safety tip yet”: “Always stick with your buddy!” Kids will be highly entertained while learning the value of teamwork and a few nifty safety tips, such as “always pull the toothpick out of your sandwich” and “never lick a stop sign in the winter,” most of which are visible as notes in the illustrations. Young audiences will both giggle and think. It is a nice little tale about safety and presents important information in a fun and original manner, thus becoming an effective tool for opening a discussion on how to be safe.