Officer Buckle and Gloria is a book by Peggy Rathmann that won the Caldecott Medal in 1996. It tells the story of Officer Buckle, a policeman who is so dedicated to safety that he travels around to schools, giving presentations on safety tips. The presentations do not go so well, as they are so boring that everyone falls asleep.
One day, a dog named Gloria is added to the police force. She accompanies Officer Buckle and acts out his safety tips behind them as he presents. Although he does not realize Gloria is doing this, she makes his presentations engaging and fun. After this first talk, there isn’t a single accident in the school. Soon, Officer Buckle and Gloria are traveling to schools all over (313 schools, to be exact) to give their safety talk. Everyone loves them. They even get fan mail!
Soon, they are recorded on television giving their presentation. By watching the recording, Officer Buckle discovers what Gloria has been doing and starts to believe that the crowds only liked Gloria and not Officer Buckle too. The next day he refuses to attend his safety talk, and sends Gloria alone. It does not go well, and everyone falls asleep. That afternoon, a HORRIBLE accident occurs. Everyone writes Officer Buckle to tell him about the disaster.
Officer Buckle’s eyes are opened by all the letters, and he begins to understand that Gloria and Officer Buckle work best as a team, with each of them bringing their own talents to the presentation. This is how they come up with safety tip 101!
Overall, Officer Buckle and Gloria is a heartwarming book, accessible to readers of all ages. The colorful images and creative illustrations are engaging and fun. This book also stresses the importance of teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and above all else, safety. As an added bonus to the story, safety tips can be found in the background of many pictures in the book, which can lead to an important talk with children about safety, and even a fun scavenger hunt to find all the tips! I am not surprised in the slightest that this book won the Caldecott Medal.