Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Image credit: goldmedalbooks.wordpress.com
Hill, Laban Carrick. 2010. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. Ill. by Bryan Collier. New York, NY: Little, Brown. ISBN 0786818700
2. PLOT SUMMARY
Laban Carrick Hill tells a beautiful story about a man named Dave who lived in the nineteenth century. Dave, who did not have a last name because he was a slave, was a talented artist and poet. Laban Hill describes the process of making clay pottery as Dave would have done in the early to mid nineteenth century. Later in the book, Laban Carrick Hill includes a real photograph of some of Dave’s actual pieces of pottery, and he expands upon Dave’s poetry with examples and includes some facts and thoughts about each one.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
With a poetic flair, Laban Carrick Hill writes an informative story in two parts. Through the use of similes and a touch of alliteration, he reveals the potter’s job in easy to comprehend verses that are filled with descriptive words. He then describes Dave’s poetry in an informative style.
The illustrator Bryan Collier creates colorful, vivid pictures that are pleasing to the eye. He uses various textures that are so detailed the reader can almost reach out and touch them, and his incorporation of reflective lighting and shading is beautiful. Each pair of pages in the book about pottery making has a large illustration next to a solid colored page. It looks as if the pictures were carefully torn out and placed in a scrapbook. Most of the text is printed on the solid colored paper.
The combination of Laban Carrick Hill’s written words and Bryan Collier’s illustrations is a beautiful piece of work. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave will appeal to children and adults.
4. REVIEW EXCERPTS
Booklist: “A beautiful introduction to a great lost artist.” Daniel Kraus
School Library Journal: “An inspiring story, perfectly presented”–Paula Willey
2011 Caldecott Honor Book
• This book could be used in an art class and would be particularly effective as an introduction to a pottery class.
• Dave the Potter could be read as part of an historical lesson on slavery.
• This work could also play a part in a unit about biographies.