Sheri-Lynn Kenny



Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite - 5/5 Star Rating

Lara is just about to enter Grade one, only she is going to a new school in a new community far away from the one she had lived in her entire life. Her family had just moved from the city of St. John's in Newfoundland to a small community in White River, Ontario. The community was known as the coldest spot in Canada as well as being the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh. It was also a very multicultural community. The new friends that Lara makes are from India, China, Jamaica and Ireland. Lara settles into school easily having such great friends. Her favorite class is art and, at the end of September, she brings home some of her paintings to share with her parents. An unfortunately incident - Lara's displaying her work too close to a hot stove - causes a fire that not only destroys the kitchen, but also her art work.

Sheri-Lynn Kenny's The Kitchen of Many Colours is colorfully illustrated, a true compliment to the story itself. She has created a delightful set of childhood characters and a real life tragedy that could happen to anyone at any time. The story teaches young readers the importance of being careful around a hot stove. The true gem in this story is the coming together of the neighborhood of friends from around the world. The multi-colored kitchen is a metaphor for a multicultural community of caring people. This beautifully illustrated story not only teaches young readers about fire safety but also about living in a multicultural community and the beauty of true friendship.

Reviewed By Jane Finch for Readers’ Favorite - 4/5 Star Rating

The Kitchen of Many Colours by Sheri-Lynn Kenny tells the story of Lara and her family who move to a small town in Canada. During the summer, Lara makes lots of new friends who come from different parts of the world. When she starts school, she really enjoys painting pictures and takes them home to show her mom. Unfortunately, there is an accident and a fire destroys much of the kitchen. Although it is a very sad and difficult time for the family, the neighbours rally round to help out in an unusual and amazing way.

This is a sweet story that not only deals with aspects such as taking care in the home and dealing with difficult situations, but it’s also about a multi-cultural society and how everyone, whatever their race or culture, can come together to help one another. It teaches acceptance and tolerance and that if you have a friend, race or colour or culture make no difference to the friendship. In this particular story, the different cultures are shown in a positive and endearing way.

The author, Sheri-Lynn Kenny, has done a good job in telling an interesting story which also incorporates the importance of helping one another, especially in times of need. The safety aspects of fire are also highlighted which makes this an ideal story for a parent to discuss with their child, and even for a teacher in a classroom situation to highlight the various aspects covered in this simple yet charming tale.

Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite - 5/5 Star Rating

The Kitchen of Many Colours is a children’s educational storybook written and illustrated by Sheri-Lynn Kenny. Moving to White River, Ontario, was a big adventure for Lara and her family. White River is a small town that in the past had been the coldest place in Canada, and Winnie the Pooh was born there. Lara’s family moved to White River because there was a new mill which needed workers. Although there were only about a thousand people living in the town, Lara soon found lots of friends as she explored her new surroundings during the summer before school started. She met so many new friends at the beach and the park that she didn’t feel so nervous about starting first grade in the fall. Her friends came from all over the world, and they and their families came to the rescue when Lara’s family needed help.

Sheri-Lynn Kenny’s children’s educational storybook, The Kitchen of Many Colours, is a delightful and informative tale that celebrates diversity and the rich cultures, heritage and traditions found in countries around the world. I enjoyed learning about White River and think the plot will keep children motivated and interested in the outcome. Kenny’s illustrations are marvelous! They’re brightly coloured and filled with interesting features to discover -- including a rather famous bear holding a honey pot! Her descriptions and drawings of traditional foods at the picnic the families throw for Lara’s family, however, will make most readers hungry, so be warned in advance. The Kitchen of Many Colours is most highly recommended.

Official Review: The Kitchen of Many Colours

[Following is the official review of "The Kitchen of Many Colours" by Sheri-Lynn Kenny.]

The book follows a young girl named Lara. The story takes place in Canada, as Lara and her parents just moved to Ontario from Newfoundland. They now live in a small town of about 1,000 people. The population is steadily growing as new families move to town because of the new mill. Lara will be attending first grade in the fall. For now, it’s the summer, which is the perfect time for Lara to adjust to her new surroundings and make new friends before school begins. 

The story is written in paragraph form and the accompanying illustrations do a fine job in visually portraying the words preceding them. The story itself is just ten pages, excluding the separate pages of illustrations. It moves swiftly while having the chance to include a number of plot points that build off of each other and work well together.

The most prominent aspect of this book is its heavy emphasis on diversity. Lara becomes friends with Max who is from India, Maya from China, Kieran from Ireland, and Asheeka from Jamaica. After a disaster of sorts occurs at Lara’s house, the community comes together to support them in their time of need. It’s a nice, idealistic notion that seems appropriate for a children’s book. But I had mixed feelings about the cultural aspect, which is used as the main motif throughout the book. Everything that we learn about these characters, besides Lara, is related to their culture. It’s nice in theory, but it was disappointing that we didn’t get to see Lara’s friends or the other community members in a way unconnected to their native nationalities, which they seemed wholly defined by in how they are described and in the things they do. We don’t really get to see them just as individuals. 

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was well written and well intentioned with a very sweet plot, mostly due to the conclusion that speaks to the title of the book. Even so, I wish that the characters could have been developed outside of their respective backgrounds. But that’s just how I felt about it. As a kid’s book, it’s a fine read that I’m sure many parents and children would find enjoyable. There are lessons, such as on fire safety, that could be particularly helpful. The book could also serve as a conversation starter about having friends of different races or living in a diverse community.

Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite - 5/5 Star Rating

The Kitchen of Many Colors by Sheri-Lynn Kenny is a charming children’s book. Lara and her family have moved to White River in Ontario, a small and very remote community. Through school and her new neighbors, Lara meets lots of new friends. One day she brings home some pictures she has drawn to show her mum, but a horrible disaster happens and the family has to pull out all the stops. Lara comes to realize how valuable her new friends are when they all pull together to help the family with a stunning result – a picnic to remember and a kitchen of many colors.

The Kitchen of Many Colors by Sheri-Lynn Kenny was a great little book, perfectly suited for the target audience. It is just the right length so that young children will not get bored and will gain lots of useful information from it. As well as being a story about how accidents happen and how not to let them happen, it is also a story of cultural differences, about how people may come from all corners of the world, but that inside we are all the same. There are lots of messages here for children – and a few adults! – to pick up and learn from. I particularly liked the way it was written in plain language, easy to understand, and with lots of colorful pictures to help the story along. Nice book, and I hope there are lots more where this came from as I feel sure they will be hugely popular.