As brown-skinned CJ and his “Nana” take the bus from church to their usual Sunday destination, a community soup kitchen, CJ grumbles with envy about advantages other children enjoy. In response to each complaint, Nana points out the beauty of their gritty, urban neighborhood and diverse array of friends: “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” The taut, upbeat narrative reveals a warm sense of community without sentimentality or sappiness. Robinson’s characteristic collage and acrylic figures travel through San Francisco-like city scenes and interact realistically with fellow bus riders. Unfortunately, a few items specified in the text cannot be found in the pictures, but these omissions cannot sink a buoyant Sunday outing that finds eclectic urban beauty in unlikely places among an offbeat cast of characters.
Linda Perkins, Independent