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Officer Buckle and Gloria

Last updated Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Author: Peggy Rathmann
Date of Publication: 1995
ISBN: 0399226168
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2007

Synopsis: 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.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is Officer Buckle? Who is Gloria? How do you know who is who?
•  Can an animal be your friend?
•  Do you have any pets? Can they do tricks?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Were people listening to Officer Buckle before he got Gloria? What about after?
•  Is it better to do things alone or with a friend? How do friends help get things done?
•  How did Gloria help Officer Buckle?
•  Did Gloria need Officer Buckle as much as Officer Buckle needed Gloria?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a badge with a saftey tip on it. If you can't think of one of your own, use one from the book.
•  Make a saftey tip book. Cover it with construction paper and write saftey tips and pictures on each page.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!