‘Ozzie and the Art Contest’ by Dana Sullivan: A picture book about happiness

ozzie and art

Rating: 5 stars

In “Ozzie and the Art Contest,” Dana Sullivan teaches young readers some very important life lessons. Ozzie, a bright blue dog, is very excited when his teacher announces that there will be an art contest. Ozzie loves to draw and he is sure he will win.

He quickly reads the instructions on the way home and uses his skills in folding paper to make a paper airplane out of the instruction sheet. Once home, he begins to draw his picture of a goat. His good friend agrees to model for the picture. Ozzie just knows he’ll win the contest — he knows a lot about goats!

On Monday, he proudly turns in his picture. The teacher tells the class that the winners will be announced the next day. Ozzie can hardly wait to see his picture in first place.

But the next morning, when he sees the winners displayed on the top row of the bulletin board, his is not among them. He looks and finally sees his picture of the goat in the bottom row, under the heading “Honorable Mention.”

While the rest of the class is cheerfully celebrating a successful art contest, Ozzie sits miserably at a table alone. He is not happy. His caring teacher notices and joins Ozzie, who simply can’t understand why his lovely drawing of a goat didn’t win.

Clever second graders with whom I read the story were quick to notice that all the winning pictures were of boats, not goats. They also quickly surmised that the contest was to draw a picture of a boat, not a goat.

Ozzie’s teacher gives him some simple advice. She says, “Winning isn’t the only reason to do things. Especially when it’s something you really like to do.”

Two life lessons. Read the instructions carefully. Winning isn’t everything — just have fun. What great topics for discussion with primary students. This is a perfect read aloud for classrooms from kindergarten through third grade.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, for review purposes.