Sunday Is for God

Sunday Is for God

by Michael McGowan, Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
     
 

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“Weekdays are for school and Saturday’s for having fun. But Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Sunday is for God.”

A boy longs to play in the river on this hot summer day, but instead he has to sit quietly in a pew. His collar itches and his tie’s too tight—why does the Lord care whether people get dressed up for church, anyway…  See more details below

Overview

“Weekdays are for school and Saturday’s for having fun. But Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Sunday is for God.”

A boy longs to play in the river on this hot summer day, but instead he has to sit quietly in a pew. His collar itches and his tie’s too tight—why does the Lord care whether people get dressed up for church, anyway? But as hymns and prayers fill the room, he begins to appreciate the simple beauty of a day set aside for family and prayer. At the end of the service, he explains a prayer to his little sister by whispering, “The Lord will take care of us no matter what. Like Momma and Daddy”—a deeply comforting message for young readers.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McGowan's debut picture book blends old-fashioned tradition with spontaneous freshness and humor, as the youngest son of a multigenerational family describes a typical Sunday in his small-town, largely African-American, church-going community. Johnson and Fancher's (The King's Taster) earthy, pastel-hued acrylics appear against a collage background of hymns and scripture passages, demonstrating the extent to which faith weaves through the fabric of this family's life. In a painting that depicts the narrator praying, the “Greatest Commandment” (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart...”) appears on his collar, while the Lord's Prayer is seen on his tie. Parents and elders exhibit both personal warmth and high expectations; illustrations show children participating in worship, behaving, but also being children (one boy sticks his tongue out at a friend). The narrator's voice rings true: chafing under his restrictive clothing he muses, “I guess that's what the Lord wants, but I wish He didn't.” This cheerful attempt to reclaim Sunday for worship offers a respectful nod to the past without being overly nostalgic, and provides an encouraging model for contemporary families seeking to honor the Sabbath. Ages 3–8. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 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
Kirkus Reviews
"Weekdays are for school. Saturday's for having fun. But Sunday is the Lord's day." So begins one African-American boy's slice-of-life description of this particular Sunday, which unfolds in a comforting, ritualized pattern. There's breakfast, getting into church clothes and the service itself, complete with fidgeting and woolgathering before the final hymn. Then Sunday dinner and finally, as the sun begins to set, an opportunity to play. McGowan's straightforward text ably captures both the wonder and the boredom-often simultaneous-of church devotions in a way young readers will recognize. Johnson and Fancher use their trademark style of acrylics painted over collaged paper to great effect here, rendering their scenes on scraps of Bible verses and hymnal pages-with the occasional baseball or crayon box peeking through to remind readers of the narrator's divided attentions; one spread depicts the narrator dunking his hand into the blue aisle carpet-cum-imaginary river. The sunny palette makes the most of the mostly black and brown skins of the congregation and of the girls' and ladies' Sunday best dresses and hats. Simple and joyous. (Picture book. 4-8)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2009:
"Simple and joyous."
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
A boy from an African-American family gets up, eats breakfast, dresses, goes to church, eats dinner, and then goes out to play. The family consists of a father and mother, grandfather, younger sister, a baby, and an older brother who is twelve. The boys dress up with white shirts and ties. Brother fusses with his hair. The church is hot. The boy wants to scratch his neck under his tie but is not allowed to. The women and his little sister wear hats. When the choir sings, "Yes, We'll Gather at the River," the boy wishes he were by the river "with my pants rolled up, wading in the cool clear water." The minister preaches. "People are saying, 'Amen,' so I say it too, extra loud, just when everybody else is quiet." His friend turns around and is rewarded with a look from Momma. The boy drops a quarter in the collection plate. He prays for his family and to be better. At home he takes off his tie before dinner. After dinner he changes clothes and goes out to play with his friend from church who is white. The full-page colored pictures are faintly overlaid with hymns and scripture. The boy senses that Sunday is a special day. The wonderful pictures show a settled, peaceful life. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375982866
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
02/23/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
40
File size:
9 MB
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2009:
"Simple and joyous."

Meet the Author

This is Michael McGowan’s first picture book. He sings in a church choir and rings the bells in a church tower in Harlem.

Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher have collaborated on many award-winning and bestselling picture books, including Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou.


From the Hardcover edition.

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