Officer Buckle's safety presentation at Napville Elementary School is always ignored. It's so dull, in fact, that it puts audiences to sleep. Z Z Z z z z z... But soon, children are paying attention...to Officer Buckle's new police dog, Gloria, who stands behind him, impishly miming the dire consequences and accidents involved in not using one's head. Buckle is surprised to see the children suddenly so attentive, even applauding and laughing, and each time he checks on Gloria, she is sitting at attention.
Humorous illustrations let readers know what Buckle does not realize: that Gloria is performing the children's socks off. That is until a news team videotapes Gloria's comedy routine. This sends Officer Buckle into a slump, deflated to learn that Gloria has been stealing the show. Gloria soon goes solo, and not only does she flop without him, but Napville Elementary has its biggest accident ever. It's apparent how much Officer Buckle and Gloria need each other, and before long, they are again a winning team.
Rathmann's story of the importance of teamwork, along with her Caldecott Medal-winning illustrations, which have been created from a vibrant palette of cartoon art, make this book an appealing read aloud. Older readers will have their interest piqued by the many safety tips found on the endpapers, all hilariously illustrated with Gloria's antics.