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Literature / Officer Buckle and Gloria

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Napville's never seen a safety talk like this before...

Officer Buckle and Gloria is a 1995 picture book by Peggy Rathman, which won the Caldecott Honor Medal the following year.

A safety-conscious police officer has trouble getting the students at the local school to pay attention, until he brings in a police dog named Gloria, who energizes the performance. However, when Officer Buckle finds out who has been captivating the crowd, he quits his lecture tour. After the school asks Gloria to give a solo "safety speech", will the result change her partner's mind?

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Officer Buckle refuses to come to the school for another safety talk after he's found out that Gloria's performances have been the reason people have been paying attention. Gloria gets dropped off at the school by herself, but without her partner, she just sits there and then falls asleep. Officer Buckle returns to safety-talk duty after the accident that follows (and a note from one of the students).
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Gloria can understand Officer Buckle's safety tips and act them out in ways that the audience can understand and appreciate.
  • False Cause: Officer Buckle doesn't realize that the audience isn't laughing at or clapping for him until he sees a tape of one of his and Gloria's safety talks on the news.
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: The students of the Napville schools don't find Officer Buckle's pre-Gloria safety talks very interesting and tend to fall asleep while he's giving them.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: Gloria leaps into the air to illustrate the safety tip to not leave thumbtacks on sitting surfaces.
  • The Power of Friendship: Officer Buckle and Gloria cannot manage to get the safety tips across by themselves. Officer Buckle alone bores the audience so much they fall asleep, and Gloria alone just sits on the stage looking unhappy with the same result. With each other, however, they are a spectacular force for safety. The last safety tip in the book advises the listener/reader to always stick with a buddy.
  • Taught by Experience: Officer Buckle seems to learn at least some of the safety tips he tells the students by suffering the consequences of doing various things.
  • Thumbtack on the Chair: A non-prank variation; Officer Buckle tells the students they shouldn't leave thumbtacks on places where they sit, remembering sitting on one that morning.
  • Wing Ding Eyes: Gloria turns her eyes into x's to demonstrate why you shouldn't swim during a storm.