JUNE 30:

  • Happy birthday David McPhail (Edward and the Pirates, Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore) and Mollie Hunter (A Stranger Came Ashore).
  • In 1859 French acrobat Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope to an audience of five thousand. Read Mirette & Bellini Cross Niagara Falls by Emily Arnold McCully, Yours Till Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Margot Apple, and Niagara Falls, or Does It? by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver.
  • The forty-hour workweek was established in 1936. Read The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCully.
  • Happy birthday to the National Organization of Women/NOW, founded on this day in 1966. Read Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt.

June has been designated National Safety Month to promote safety at work, at home, on the road, and in our communities. Safety might seem a bit dull as a topic for a book for children, but the book of the day, Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, demonstrates that highly creative people can make seemingly mundane topics into fascinating reading. Winner of the Caldecott Medal, Officer Buckle and Gloria has been delighting young readers for more than fifteen years. Beginning and closing with endpapers that show a variety of safety tips, the book conveys many rules about safe behavior—and does so with humor.

Friendly Officer Buckle knows more safety tips than anyone in his town and appears at schools to share them. Unfortunately, his speeches generate little enthusiasm from the students. No one, in fact, listens to him at all, no matter what wisdom he imparts. Fortunately, he begins to take his new police dog Gloria with him. Gloria can do more than sit; she can act out the very safety lesson he describes—cleaning up spilled liquids, tying shoelaces, or avoiding thumbtacks. Since Officer Buckle doesn’t see Gloria’s actions, his speech looks like a funny play, and this pas de deux gets rave reviews from the children. Only after he watches himself on television does the good police officer realize that Gloria has been hamming it up for applause.

At first hurt, he grows to realize that the two can do together what neither of them can do alone. With one of the best final picture book lines of all time, the officer gives safety tip #101 “ALWAYS STICK WITH YOUR BUDDY!”

In this perfect picture book, author Peggy Rathmann creates tension on every page between what is said in the text and what is revealed in the art. With a multitude of real safety tips throughout the story, this book demonstrates that learning about anything—even safety—can be fun. So during National Safety Month, remember to check both ways before you cross the street, buckle your seat belt, obey all traffic signs, and read, at least once, Officer Buckle and Gloria. You will be glad that you have followed my sound advice.

Here’s a page from Officer Buckle and Gloria:

Originally posted June 30, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, School
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Officer Buckle and Gloria


  1. Susan Gilbert says:

    One of my favorite books…and authors. Also love 10 Minutes till Bedtime.

  2. suzi w. says:

    oh what a favorite book this is. I was working at Barnes & Noble in the children’s department in 1996 when this book was awarded the Caldecott medal. I don’t remember if we had copies on hand–so often, the winner is not expected and so we would wait for copies to show up. But whatever the case, that year, I was being supervised by a woman who had a real eye for children’s books. And at Barnes & Noble, picture books had that great wall as the focal point of the children’s area. So I pored over Officer Buckle and Gloria. And loved it.

    Thanks for highlighting great books. For me, it is a trip down either memory lane or discovery road.

  3. G.Perry says:

    I love, love, love this book!

    When I first read it, I laughed out loud when I turned a page and saw Gloria doing those tricks behind Office Buckles back!

    Laughing out loud while reading is rare for me, and it’s my Michelin Red Guide for Humor Five-Star rating when I do it. P. G. Wodehouse is one of the few authors that can do that to me as well. If Gloria or Wodeshouse don’t make you laugh, you need added social support, or a physician.

    What a magical idea Peggy Rathmann had.

  4. Kathleen T. says:

    This book was a favorite read for my daughter when she was little, and I never tired of the story. You see, we are devoted dog-lovers. Not only is the story about a special dog, the book is dedicated to “Bimbo,” “Skippy,” and “Crosby;” most likely the beloved canines who inspired the story.

  5. One of my favorites!

  6. HUGE favorite!! Thanks for sharing it!!

  7. S.M. Olson says:

    I am so thrilled that you reviewed this book; it is one of my all time favorite picture books. I think it is an excellent example of the wonderful things you can do with children’s books. It is also a superb example of the power of humor to really teach something that at first seems extremely dull. There is a lot we can learn from Buckley and Gloria! Great review – thanks for sharing.

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