Yet another famous song gets the picture-book treatment, and yet another song’s lyrics are revealed to be less than the sum of the tune’s parts.
The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” was born in the Summer of Love, and its chorus reflects that. The verses, though….As Barry Miles quotes Paul McCartney in his book Many Years from Now, “The chorus…is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact, I never understood it….” Young readers are no more likely to get it than McCartney, and even adults reading, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done,” are likely to say, “Duh.” It’s best just to go with it and stick around for the chorus. Rosenthal’s artwork begins with a bear in a den made of rocks listening to some birds in a nest: “Love, love, love.” Two more successive spreads show the bear inspecting the birds’ nest up close and then, walking on two hind legs, starting a parade through the forest to the outskirts of a town and then right through it, forest animals and a pair of children, one brown-skinned with short black hair and the other a pale-skinned blonde, joining behind, with the whole parade leaving blooming flowers in its wake. Along the way, diverse people stop and watch. While bright and colorful, the pictures don’t elucidate the verses’ meaning any better than the text, though love comes through loud and clear. Final art not seen.
Beatles lovers should stick to sharing just the tune and skip this. (Picture book. 3-8)