________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 23 . . . . February 19, 2016


The Kitchen of Many Colours.

Sheri-Lynn Kenny.
Parrsboro, NS: Sheri-Lynn Kenny Books (http://www.sherilynnkennybooks.com), 2014.
24 pp., paper & Ebook, $15.99 (paper).
ISBN 978-1-4990-5940-3 (paper), ISBN 978-1-4990-5941-0 (Ebook).

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

*½ /4



Lara loved her new school and all of her friends. One of her favourite things to do was paint pictures in art class. Lara had created several beautiful paintings. On the last Friday of September, she brought home her artwork. Mom was in the kitchen making stew for supper on the stove. Mom really wanted to see her pictures but had to go to the basement to get some potatoes. Mom would look at her pictures when she came back to the kitchen.

Author Sheri-Lynn Kenny has chosen a simple narrative style to tell her story of a young girl meeting new friends in the very multicultural community of White River, ON. When Lara accidentally causes some fire damage to the kitchen of her new home, she and her parents receive help and support from their new neighbours.

      Kenny appears to have both written and illustrated The Kitchen of Many Colours. The promotional material on the back cover indicates that Kenny grew up in White River. Whether based on her experience, or created for the purpose of the story, the characters in this story represent a very diverse cultural population. Max Patel's family is from India, Maya Soyoung's family is from China, Kieran McLean's family is from Ireland, and Asheeka Dawes's family is from Jamaica.

      The illustrations show smiling children with a variety of skin tones. The illustration colours are vivid and warm. The text mentions that White River "was also known as the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh". Tucked up in a tree in the illustration is a bear with a pot of honey. Charming.

      It is bit disappointing in 2015 that the kitchen in Lara's house is referred to as "Mom's kitchen". Fortunately, "Mom, Dad and Lara worked hard to repair the kitchen."

      The most significant weakness of The Kitchen of Many Colours is the lack of effective editing. More effective editing would minimize the heavy-handed approach to delivering the message.

The Kennedy Family love their special kitchen. It is a wonderful reminder of the love and kindness that can come from friends when someone needs help. Lara learned some important lessons. First she learned all about fire safety in the home. She also learned something special about her friends and their parents. Each country that the families had come from was unique with different foods, culture and traditions. Now every time Lara helps her Mom, she can feel the love of her extended family and take a trip around the world without leaving home.

      There are also a number of errors that detract from the overall appeal of the story. It is a small detail, but the information on the back cover identifies Lara as a Grade 6 student; however, the story text and the illustrations identify Lara as a Grade 1 student. There is also a spelling error in the illustration on the first page. A prominent sign beside Lara says "GIFT SHOP, CANADAIAN SOUVENIRS".

      Sadly, I am not able to recommend this book. There are too many other books available that deliver the same message in a more polished manner.

Not Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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