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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Charlene the Star is born into a horse racing family. Her father and brother are both racing champions and her mother loves to race, too. Even Charlene the Star’s best friends, Ann and Blossom, love to race. Charlene the Star is not too sure about racing. She can’t even keep up with her friends when they race around the pasture. Her mother reassures her that it doesn’t matter what she does, as long as her heart is in it and she tries her best. Charlene the Star is trained to be a racehorse, but she shows early on that her heart’s not in it. She likes to jump around. Her trainers notice this and decide to try her with show jumping. Charlene the Star learns quickly that she loves to jump all kinds of obstacles. The best part is that she’s really good at it.
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne’s early reader chapter book, Charlene the Star, is a fun story that teaches young readers not only about horses, horse racing and show jumping, but also about learning to excel at what you enjoy doing. As Charlene the Star grows and learns, she blossoms in her ability to make friends, to be a friend, and to be proud of what she can do, as well as be proud of what her friends can do. She learns that dreams are important, but you have to be yourself; you can’t be what everyone else expects you to be. Fortunately for Charlene the Star, her trainers recognized early on that she wasn’t meant for racing, that racing wasn’t her dream even if it was in her blood. A good story that emphasizes the importance of being yourself and not trying to be someone else.