Reviews for One Love


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
The lyrics to "One Love," by reggae great Bob Marley (the adapter's father), accompany a smiling girl who spends her day participating in a multi-generational neighborhood cleanup and ensuing celebration. Like most lyrics flowed into a picture book format, these are listless on the page, burdening the illustrator to supply the music. Brantley-Newton's pictures have the spirit (if not the depth).

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #2

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)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #2

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)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 September #1

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.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 February

PreS-K--The message of this picture-book adaptation of the famous reggae musician's well-known song is laudable, and the words are simple and rhythmic: "One love, what my family gives to me. One love, what the flower gives the bee. One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree. One love, one heart, let's get together and feel all right!" This tribute by Marley's daughter contains a few lyrics on each page against a backdrop of Brantley-Newton's exuberant illustrations that tell the story of urban neighbors creating a park from what was once a garbage-strewn lot. The illustrations do the bulk of the work in this title, which would work well with Pat Brisson's Wanda's Roses (Boyds Mills, 2000).--Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC

[Page 104]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 December

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.

[Page 91]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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