The historic record doesn’t tell us much about Dave: which is not uncommon for those whose rights are trampled in the name of profit. What little we do know comes largely from the poems he wrote on the pottery he created: both of which make Dave remarkable.
I like this book. But, I almost panned it because it’s not representative of the overwhelming majority of the historic American slave experience. Laban Carrick Hill leans heavily toward the romanticized side of slavery to tell the story of Dave’s extraordinary gifts. Thus his owner – and any signs of oppression – are completely absent. However, because I’m balancing this account with other books depicting the horrors of slavery, Dave the Potter has a place in my classroom. But it couldn’t possibly stand alone.
As is often the case with Bryan Collier‘s work, his moving, well-researched illustrations alone were enough to make this book worth my time.