Book inspires artistic magic in Olney school contest

Olney Infant Academy - Davis Opticians Prize Winner
Olney Infant Academy - Davis Opticians Prize Winner

A classic children’s story was the inspiration behind a youngster’s triumph in a competition aimed at promoting the importance of eyesight and reading.

Gabrielle Harrison’s impressive picture of The Wizard of Oz secured first place and a £25 book voucher in the contest at Olney Infant Academy where pupils were asked to draw a picture of their favourite character from a book.

The school, in Spinney Hill Road, also received £100 in book vouchers in the challenge organised by Davis Optometrists, based in the town’s High Street, to mark World Book Day last month.

The six-year-old said: “I chose The Wizard of Oz because it was easy to draw and it was one of my favourite books. I was excited about winning. I like books because I like looking at the pictures and like practicing to read.”

Class teacher Allison Turner said: “Gabrielle is very good at art and she likes making things. The competition got the children thinking about books and got them drawing.

“Reading is important for many reasons and it’s also a nice activity for them to do at home.”

Kim Durden, a partner optometrist and director at Davis Optometrists, who presented Gabrielle with the prize this week, said: “We are proud to be part of our local community and thoroughly enjoyed judging the wonderful creations produced by the children in this competition.

“A recent NHS report revealed the number of children (under 16) who have had an eye examination in the past 12 months was at a 10-year low, with just 19 per cent having had an eye examination in 2012/13.

“Poor eyesight can have a significant effect on a child’s ability to learn and on their behaviour yet it often goes unrecognised. The sooner that vision problems are detected the better the outcome.”

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. It is the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.