Officer Buckle is an expert on safety. In fact, he has a bulletin board full of safety tips. But when he gives his regular talk at Napville School, no one pays attention, and some children even fall asleep. That situation changes when the Napville Police Department acquires a dog named Gloria, who accompanies Officer Buckle on his next school visit. Imagine the policeman's surprise when, as he gives his first safety tip, the children actually sit up and watch. Puzzled, he looks at Gloria, who is sitting quietly. After Officer Buckle reads the second rule, the audience is amazed, and their reactions grow stronger with each succeeding tip. Officer Buckle is thrilled. However, unknown to him, Gloria is acting out everything he says. When he reads, "ALWAYS wipe up spills BEFORE someone SLIP AND FALLS!" Gloria demonstrates by flipping over onto her head. As the policeman (and his dog) finish the speech to applause, cheering, and laughter, there is--for the first time ever--not even one mishap in the school. Officer Buckle receives thank-you letters containing pictures of Gloria from the students, and invitations to give safety talks at other schools begin pouring in. Even a television news team films one of his speeches. When Officer Buckle watches the news that night, he discovers why the safety talks are so popular. A devastated Officer Buckle refuses to speak at Napville School when the principal calls, so she asks if Gloria will be able to come. Of course, once there, with nobody to read the safety tips, Gloria only sits on stage, and soon goes to sleep--as do all the children. Afterwards, the school has its biggest disaster yet. Only when Officer Buckle receives letters with pictures of the calamity does he think of the best safety tip of all: "ALWAYS STICK WITH YOUR BUDDY!"
Rathmann's warm, humorous story is perfectly matched by her expressive illustrations. Facial expressions (especially those of Officer Buckle and Gloria) are priceless, and little details such as the banana peel decal with a red line through it on the policeman's sleeve and Gloria-demonstrated safety tips inside the front and back covers add to the charm of this winner. Ages 5-8
Recommended by Barbara Karp, Librarian.