Lyrics inspired by an exchange with Marley's 3-year-old daughter are set to bright paintings of a multicultural cast of children and adults enjoying each other's company indoors and out. The Emmy-winning song is already available on recordings and as an app, and it's better suited to those formats. Here, without the music, the experience is primarily visual, since the lyrics are largely repetitions of the chorus—"I love you, I love you too. / I tell you, I love you"—interspersed with variations on "Like the fish loves the sea. // Like the honey and the bee" or "When you smile, I'll smile along. / When you cry, my comfort comes." Reflecting both the imagery and the warm intimacy of adjacent lines, three children and their parents (babies, grandparents and others put in cameos) in various combinations play together, sit at meals, observe birds and smiling worms, decorate a holiday tree or simply embrace lovingly in Jatkowska's illustrations. A note on Marley's charitable organization, Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment, follows the text. The art will draw and hold young children's attention, but the words hang together better when sung rather than spoken. (Picture book. 3-6)
The lyrics to reggae artist Marley's Emmy-winning song, featured in the animated series 3rd & Bird, are presented with Jatkowska's smudgy, jewel-toned illustrations in the musician's first picture book. Three children—black, brown, and white—are seen spending time together and with their parents. A father with spiky, sandy hair shares breakfast with his pigtailed daughter at the kitchen table: "When you tell me that you love me,/ this is what I'm gonna say," writes Marley before a page turn shows the same pair hugging in view of a vibrant green tree where two brightly colored birds are nuzzling: I love you too, I love you too, I love you." Subsequent pages depict the children fully engaged in nature, observing friendly fish underwater, bees buzzing around their hive, love-struck earthworms, and more; seasons pass, too, bringing the birth of a new sibling for one of the children and the arrival of Christmas. The repetitiveness of the chorus makes this book a more satisfying sing-aloud than a read-aloud, but it's a sweetly affectionate ode to togetherness and love all the same. Ages 1–up. (Apr.)
The pieces are all there for I Love You Too to be a good romantic comedy but good genre filmmaking is about working within the restraint of the genre without everything feeling tired, familiar and average.