Thursday, July 9, 2015

Officer Buckle and Gloria 
by Peggy Rathman

Peggy Rathman’s warm, feel-good story is well-loved by students and teachers. The illustrations add important, humorous details and a backstory that is not written in the text. This story an excellent writing workshop mentor text for the importance of adding depth/details in illustrations.

Awards: MANY! • 1996 Caldecott Medal Winner • ALA Notable Children's Book • Booklist "Editors' Choice ’95" • Child Magazine "Best Books of 1995" • Horn Book Fanfare selection•Parenting Magazine "Best Books of 1995", School Library Journal "Best Books of 1995"

Book Talk
One of Officer Buckle’s main responsibilities is to inform the citizens and children of Naperville of safety tips to help them be safe and secure in all things that they do. He is very committed to coming up with more and more safety tips.  He takes his job of informing the community very seriously.

BUT—he bores everyone to tears—-and snoozes!  Often snoring is heard during his presentations—even to the school children of Naperville.

Until the Napervile police department gets a new dog—Gloria!

Officer Buckle warmly welcomes Gloria into his presentation and introduces her to the students at his next visit to the school. 

Unbeknownst to Officer Buckle, Gloria surprises the students by imitating and exaggerating  all of his gestures and acting out the tip he uses as he explains his safety ideas. Every time, Officer Buckle looks back at Gloria, she immediately returns to her sitting position. The crowd loves it!  This entertains the students and adds humor to presentations that had not been there before.  Because Officer Buckle thinks the crowd is reacting to his safety tips—he becomes more animated in his presentation—which causes Gloria to become all the more entertaining in her acting.

All of a sudden, Officer Buckle becomes a very popular speaker city-wide!  And of course he always takes Gloria along with him—who continues her antics, exaggerations  and entertains the audience behind the Officer’s back.  But as a consequence of the students paying attention, everyone now follows the safety tips and there are less accidents!

The children of Naperville send Officer Buckle thank you notes with illustrations of Gloria in all kinds of funny positions.  Office Buckle and Gloria continue to get more and more requests for presentations.  He loves having Gloria as a buddy.

Their popularity increases so much that a TV station shows up to record part of a presentation for the local TV news.  Officer Buckle could not wait to see the news that night!

But he was shocked and hurt with what he saw—Gloria upstaging him as he read the safety tips. After watching the news,  his sudden notoriety made sense to him…and made him sad.

He refused the next request by the school for a safety tip visit, but the principal asked if Gloria would come.  She went, but without her partner, she did not perform, but looked sad instead.The kids all started snoring again and accidents started happening again because, again, no one is listening.

The letters poured back into the police station from the students begging for Gloria AND Officer Buckle to return. Of course, they do! 

A favorite line:
Gloria gave Office Buckle a big kiss on the nose. Officer Buckle gave Glira a nice pat on the back. Then, Officer Buckle though of his best safety tip yet...Safety Tip #101 "Always Stick With Your Buddy!"

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Animal Fantasy, Fiction
Reading Workshop strategies: Connecting, Inferring, Questioning, Summarizing, Fluency
Writing Workshop genre and strategies: Narrative writing, Strong endings
Curricular Themes: Grammar (quotation marks /dialogue)

Peggy Rathman’s website:

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