One Love

Cedella Marley, Author, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Illustrator, Bob Marley, Created by
Cedella Marley, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Chronicle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0224-5
Reviewed on: 09/05/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Board Books - 24 pages - 978-1-4521-3855-8
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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 together—though unfortunately, not one readers can really sing along with. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
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