K-Gr 4–The life of an astonishingly prolific and skilled potter who lived and died a slave in 19th-century South Carolina is related in simple, powerful sentences that outline the making of a pot. The movements of Dave's hands are described using familiar, solid verbs: pulling, pinching, squeezing, pounding. Rural imagery–a robin's puffed breast, a carnival wheel–remind readers of Dave's surroundings. The pithy lines themselves recall the short poems that Dave inscribed on his pots. Collier's earth-toned watercolor and collage art extends the story, showing the landscape, materials, and architecture of a South Carolina farm. Alert readers will find hidden messages in some of the collages, but what stands out in these pictures are Dave's hands and eyes, and the strength of his body, reflected in the shape and size of his legendary jars and pots. A lengthy author's note fleshes out what is known of the man's life story and reproduces several of his two-line poems. A photograph of some of Dave's surviving works cements the book's link to the present and lists of print and online resources encourage further exploration. An inspiring story, perfectly presented and sure to prompt classroom discussion and projects. Outstanding in every way.Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
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As a closing essay explains, little is known about the man known as Dave the potter. Two things are certain, though: he was a slave in South Carolina, and he was a potter of uncommon skill. As Hill writes, “Dave was one of only two potters at the time who could successfully make pots that were larger than twenty gallons.” He also inscribed strange, sophisticated poetry into the clay: “I wonder where / is all my relation / friendship to all— / and, every nation.” The verses Hill uses to introduce us to Dave are sometimes just as evocative: “On wet days, / heavy with rainwater, / it is cool and squishy, / mud pie heaven.” The book’s quiet dignity comes from its refusal to scrutinize life as a slave; instead, it is nearly a procedural, following Dave’s mixing, kneading, spinning, shaping, and glazing. Collier’s gorgeous watercolor-and-collage illustrations recall the work of E. B. Lewis—earth-toned, infused with pride, and always catching his subjects in the most telling of poses. A beautiful introduction to a great lost artist. Grades K-3. --Daniel KrausSee all Editorial Reviews
I bought this book for my son when he was 2 1/2. Back then he loved the illustrations and wording--he really connects with it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Anne Clinton
This excellent picture story book is a great addition to my collection of books about clay because it is a source that provides young students with an opportunity to learn about an... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Carol D.
Excellent story for children and adults. The watercolor/collage artwork is beautiful and appropriate. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Meg Mitcham
I bought this for a friend who teaches elementary school art to use with her class. I also used this for an elementary age Sunday School class when our lesson included the verse... Read morePublished 19 months ago by William A. Radatz
Fantastic book that is well illustrated and has a great message as well. Both my 4 year old son and six year old daughter love it.Published 20 months ago by Optimusprimelives
The pictures are lush and graphic. The story such a beautiful and long over due tribute. This is really a pleasing book.Published 22 months ago by Aunt Deb
A good deal of my life has been spent in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. As an avid collector of early Southern antiques, I have often seen Dave's work, and wondered... Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Wren's Nest
Dave the Potter is a book about a slave, written in a poetic style. The main story is about how Dave the slave gets the clay, molds the clay and creates a giant pot big enough for... Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by Aenima