A 1996 Caldecott Medal Winner, this glorious picture book is a delightful tale of a police officer and his loyal canine companion, Gloria. Officer Buckle visits elementary schools in the town of Napville to teach students about safety. His safety tips are quite amusing, for instance, "Never eat mayonnaise that has been sitting in the sun."
He soon notices that he is losing the attention of his audience members, as they are falling asleep! This prompts him to bring his dog Gloria in to spice things up, and that she does. As Officer Buckle is presenting, Gloria is performing amusing tricks in the background to demonstrate what the officer is saying. Officer Buckle is not aware of Gloria's antics and is pleased with himself when the audience offers postitive feedback. He is under the impression that HE is the one the audience adores.
The conflict arises when Officer Buckle realizes the children are being entertained by Gloria, not him. This brings in feelings of jealousy and hurt feelings come to the surface. The author does an amazing job of inserting humor to the story while focusing on feelings that can occur between children within their friendships.
The positive solution that comes about is heart-warming and provides a good lesson for how children can effectively deal with similar situtations that can develop between friends. Ultimately, Officer Buckle and Gloria learn a valuable lesson from each other: that teamwork is the key to success.
Officer Buckle and Gloria also uses brilliant illustrations that are outlined in black for emphasis. The pictures only add to the already entertaining content of the story. An extension of this book could be to integrate important safety lessons for children and information about police dogs. Goodnight, Gorilla is another well-written, enjoyable book by the same author.
Target audience: PreK-3rd