A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.
Using only the refrain from the original ("One love, one heart, let's get together and feel all right!"), the reggae great's daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her "happy song" and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: "One love, what the flower gives the bee." and then "One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree." Brantley-Newton's sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words "One love, like the river runs to the sea."
Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)
As she did in Three Little Birds (Tuff Gong, 2006), Cedella Marley adapts a song by her late father, reggae musician Bob Marley. She takes liberties with the lyrics: other than the song’s chorus (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the prose bears no resemblance to the original song. Marley replaces religious references with nature-based reflections on love: “One love, what the flower gives the bee./ One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Readers rely more on Brantley-Newton’s (Let Freedom Sing) cheery, mixed-media illustrations to follow the book’s plot, in which a girl galvanizes her multiethnic community to pick up litter and plant flowers to open “One Love Park,” their cooperative efforts driving home the “let’s get together” thrust of the refrain. Filled with patterned materials and bold colors, Brantley-Newton’s illustrations are as sunny as the characters’ dispositions, and the scenes include several visual nods to Bob Marley. Conflict-free, it’s simply a feel-good story of a community coming togetherthough unfortunately, not one readers can really sing along with. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Deceptively simple and brilliantly executed."-School Library Journal
School Library Journal
PreS—The mixed-media artwork in this board book is so joyous and energetic that it can barely be contained on its vibrant pages. They tell the story of how a single small person's inspiration can spark a community into action. The rhythmic verse and rousing refrain beg to be read (or sung) over and over again.