From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—Small-town America in the unspecified past finds expression in this portrait of a Sunday spent the old-fashioned way—with one's family in devotion to the Lord. An African-American boy describes the rituals and habits of his family as they rise early to a hot, shared breakfast, dress in their best clothes, and walk to church alongside other members of their community. McGowan's description of the service from the boy's point of view is spot-on. The child is both mesmerized and a little bored; he awakens from his reverie when a scripture verse or song lyric speaks to him. The day's idyllic pattern continues, with more delicious food and the companionship of friends and family. Johnson and Fancher expertly layer collaged hymns, Bible verses, and photographs beneath their impressionistic acrylic paintings of the families enjoying their day. For children whose lives include a community of faith, the Sunday related here will resonate. But for most youngsters today, the story may need a guide, and the quiet, lengthy narrative may not hold their attention.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
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The ecstatic feeling of a powerful church experience meets (and vanquishes) the fussiness of a youngster in this sweet slice of realism. It’s Sunday morning and a young African American boy knows what that means: “Sunday is for God. That’s what Momma says.” Initially it’s not something to be savored; Sunday also means starchy collars and tight ties and having to sit still. Once inside the cramped church, McGowan unleashes a wealth of sensory details: you feel the motion of fidgety kids and fan-waving adults, smell the perspiration, and hear the fluttery rumble of the organ. Johnson and Fancher’s artwork is sometimes static in subject, but gets a lift from its textured mix of acrylic and collage, with printed details of Bible verses, music notes, and other illustrations bleeding through the paint. The moments of fantasy are well handled (as when the boy pretends the blue carpet is a river), but no illustration is as evocative as the one on the title page, where a musical staff soars heavenward from the church’s steeple. A tender reflection of many children’s Sunday experience. Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus