Charlene the Star

Children - General
62 Pages
Reviewed on 09/17/2017
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    Book Review

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.

Virginia Wright, author

5.0 out of 5 starsCharlene the Star is another delightful story by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne...
ByVirginia Wrighton February 9, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Charlene the Star was born into a family of famous racehorses. She had beautiful dark red hair, brown eyes, and nice long legs just perfect for being a racehorse. However, Charlene decides racing is not for her. Charlene does not know how to tell her mother this. Quite a dilemma for a youngster. You will have to read Charlene the Star to find out what happens next in this delightful story by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. I recommend this book for young readers 7-12, and especially for those who are horse lovers.

Karen Smith

Charlene made her choice
ByKaren Smithon September 28, 2016
Format: Perfect Paperback|Verified Purchase
Charlene the Star by Deanie Dunne is such a awesome author and she start off with this story first, there are three more that follow plus one great book about how Deanie wrote this great books. I have read all on my kindle then I have ordered them to send to my younger cousin to read and enjoy and also share with her baby brother.
Charlene starts with meeting her mom and some friends that are also still babies. Since her mom an dad were racing horses also her brother Charles that she will meet later in the story.
Charlene is not really sure if she was to race like the rest of her family, but she knows that she should at least give it a try. Before she needs to try, time is spent out in the fields with other young horses, there she meets two friends but they both have high hopes of becoming champions racing so they decided to race around the field beating boy Charlene.
Charlene can't wait to get back and have a talk with Mom. Mom tries to calm her down an tell her that she is to do her best and that is it. Charlene did try but she was not happy an didn't know how to let any one know so the last time she was asked to race, she let her rider know that she didn't like it.
Eve saw how she acted jumping up and down an the idea came to Eve so she called an asked the owner if she could take her across the street where they teach jumping and after the first time it looked like this was were she belonged.
There is so much more for you to read about this great horse so I don't want to take any more away from you ,I want you to get this book an find out all the things that happen an enjoy every page as I know you will. Look also at the beautiful pictures that are in all the books including this one.
When you are done please send a message to Deanie and let her know what a awesome book this is and that you will continue to get the other books, also please make a review letting others know what great book this is. Authors work very hard writing stories for you to read and to share with your friends and family. Enjoy every minute of reading these book you will not be sorry.

Gisela Sedlmayer

What a beautiful, heartwarming and gentle story.
ByGisela H. Sedlmayer, author of the Talon book serieson February 21, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a beautiful, heartwarming and gentle story. A story in the eyes of Charlene.
Beautifully crafted.
One thinks if horses really think that way.
I for myself think that. I love horses and was riding them. I thought often what is he thinking right now having me on his back?
A great story not only for children, since I enjoyed it as much as a child would.

Theodore J Cohen

5.0 out of 5 starsA wonderful story about finding your way in life
ByTheodore J. Cohenon February 11, 2017
Format: Perfect Paperback
Shakespeare said it best: “This above all: to thine own self be true” (Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, line 85). It’s a story I know well, having come from a home where my father wanted me to become a concert violinist while my interests, even at the age of 12, already had turned to what would become my life’s vocation: science and engineering. But how to deal with the conflict and with the disappointment on my father’s part that ensued. These are the issues many children face growing up, and here, it doesn’t take long for them to appear in Charlene the Star:

“Charlene thought to herself, I wonder what I’ll do in the playground besides eating and running. I like spending time with Mama. What would happen if I don’t like racing? ….”

It’s clear that Mama is grooming Charlene for racing, and the barn is full of fillies who can provide the role models needed, Ann and Blossom, to name two. They, obviously, are on their ways to racing careers. Further, their focus on the sport only serves to scare poor Charlene, as do the exploits of Charlene’s big brother, Charlie, who won the Southern Derby.

And so it goes…poor Charlene, a duck out of water, as it were, a filly in tears who finds herself at odds with her companions and the role her family has destined her to play in the family’s history. She’s not interested in racing. She’s not even interest in running. She doesn’t even like the diet she’s being fed! And then, of course, there’s the training. What to do?

In the end, the trainers come to the conclusion that Charlene just isn’t cut out for racing. But what can she do. Well, suffice it to say that this filly is not without considerable talent, and thanks to Ted, the trainer at Sweetbrier Racing Stable, Charlene is moved to a farm where her abilities not only are recognized but honed to perfection.

This is a story about a plucky horse that found her own friends—and her own path—to happiness and success. It’s a story about perseverance, friendship, and most of all, a belief in oneself and in finding the things that make you happy…and then pursuing them with every ounce of energy you can muster.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beautiful illustrations by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj.

Joyce Mitchell

Educational!! Love it!!
ByJ L. Mitchell on February 10, 2017
Format: Paperback
Charlene the Star
Cover Art: Excellent

Charlene the Star is a wonderful story for children of all ages. It’s full of life lessons, about being yourself and working hard to reach your goals.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne has a knack for the written word and all of her books are a must for everyone.

This is a first-class book for young readers! RECOMMEND.

Review by author of: FIREHOUSE 3: Duties of a Firefighter


5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A STAR, CHARLENE!
ByFlojo on January 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
As a youngster I dreamed of having a horse of my own. But living in the city, making this fantasy a reality wasn't ever going to happen for me. Charlene the Star gave me the opportunity to return to my childhood and relive a time when anything seemed possible. Dunne's story is a unique tale of melding both the human and animal worlds together in such a way that both groups can talk, feel, grow, and develop in very similar ways. The educational factor of this book is fantastic. We learn about the ins and outs of race horses and jumpers while being taught that we as people need to be ourselves and make our own decisions. From Charlene we realize that although our parents love us and want what's best for their children, sometimes we must set out on our own to achieve the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves. It takes courage to take such a journey, but if we never try, how will we ever become the individuals we're destined to become! On her own, Charlene meets people and other animals she must learn to trust. She develops lasting friendships which serve to enhance her aspirations and enrich her journey. See what I mean? I started out telling you about horses and ended by speaking of human development. A book that can accomplish this is indeed unique! A great read for all ages!

Uncle Amos

Well Written Educational Story.
By Uncle Amos on May 17, 2014
Format: Perfect Paperback
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne did it again and wrote another wonderful book !

The book is for children learning to read and their parents (Teacher at school would also enjoy).

If you want that your children read or you will read to them educational story with the

adventure of Charlene,her brother Cherlie and her friends, go and buy

This lovely book.

This is a nice story with full of life lessons for our kids.

SRM Reviews

5.0 out of 5 starsDelightful and Educational. Get it!
BySRM-Reviews on July 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Charlene the Star is born into a family of champion racehorses but to her dismay she realizes that she does not share the enthusiasm, ability, and desire for racing. In her remarkable way, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, using the beautiful red-coated Charlene the Star as her "spokeswoman", communicates to young children that they need not be like everyone else but rather that they should pursue that which makes their heart soar. Charlene the Star first tries to fit in and learn to race but her heart was not in it. The beautiful horse finds a way to apprise her trainers of her unhappiness, and then with their help she discovers a different `career' that befits her talents and fills her with joy.

I highly recommend "Charlene the Star," not merely for the wonderful values it conveys, but for the sheer joy of reading a charming and enchanting story. Lovely prose, wonderful imagery, and a delightful way to learn about the world of horses and the people that care, train, and love them.

Barbara Mojica

ByBarbara Mojicaon May 9, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Charlene is a beautiful red-haired horse born to a family of successful racing horses. From the day of her birth, her path seemed clear. Charlene soon discovers that she doesn't like the food race horses eat or the training regime. She realizes that she cannot compete with her friends. One day she confides in her mother and reveals her unhappiness. At the same time, Charlene fears that she will disappoint her parents and brother, Charlie. Then Charlene discovers her true ambition; she wants to become a jumping horse. She is moved across the street to The Jumping for Joy Farm where she meets new friends and the Elliot, the family dog. Charlene flourishes here and develops her jumping talents.

Young readers experience a funny, heartwarming story that teaches the values of individualism and the art of friendship. They learn it is okay to travel on our own path, to be kind, and to be generous. Recommended especially as a beginning chapter book, especially for children who love animals and for reluctant readers who are discouraged by longer middle-grade stories.

I received a copy of this book for review and voluntarily decided to review it with my honest opinion for no monetary compensation.

Colleen M. Chesebro

t of 5 starsCharlene the Star is a sweet story for young readers who love horses or animals ...
ByColleen M. Chesebro on February 17, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Charlene the Star is a sweet story for young readers who love horses or animals in general. In the beginning, soon after Charlene is born, she learns that she has been born into a family of racehorses. Of course, her family wants her to follow in their footsteps (literally). However, this is a tough act for her to follow. Charlene soon discovers that being a racehorse just isn’t something she enjoys which causes her to have an identity crisis about what her role in life should be.

One thing Charlene does love is jumping, and that leads her to a major life opportunity. She visits the Jumping for Joy Ranch and is introduced to rail jumping, and she ends up excelling at the sport. In fact, after much practice, she proves to be so good that she wins a first and second place ribbon while participating in a competition.

As with all of Ms. Dunne’s books, Charlene helps young readers learn the lesson that it is all right to choose your own path in life. I would say this story would appeal to children from four years through eight years. The story would be an excellent bedtime read to share over the course of a few days where the parents and kids could talk about Charlene and her predicament. The author includes questions at the end of the book to prompt an active dialogue.

I wish I had a grandbaby young enough to read to… I loved the story and the message. Besides, the book was about animals. I’ve added this book to my “Me-Time” Children’s Category because after all, I still love stories about horses. ❤ *I was given a publication copy of this book from the author for review purposes*


Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Shannon K.

5 Stars for Charlene
ByShannon S.on May 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was an adorable children's book. It is full of positive lessons and even had me laughing a lot.

Charlene is a beautiful red head horse born into a family of famous racehorses. But she doesn't want to be a racehorse like them. Charlene figures out she likes a whole different path and much to her surprise and happiness, she excels at it. From very young, her mother taught her that she would be loved no matter what path she choose. Charlene becomes friends with other horses, humans, and a handsome dog named Elliot. She builds beautiful relationships with them that reinforces the importance of friendship and love.

I cannot wait for my toddler twins to read this book when they are older. I love how it encourages to try new things and most importantly, they will learn how it is absolutely OK to be different. It teaches kids that we all have our unique talents and that with hard work and dedication we can get better at anything we try.

Janice Spina

A unique and inspiring story for children!
By Jjspina on May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Charlene the Star is a wonderfully unique story for children of all ages. The writer speaks for the characters in a charming and irresistible way. She teaches children the importance of being yourself and if you work hard you will reach your goals. Charlene is a beautiful horse who comes from a long line of champion race horses. She does not, however, want to race. She has other dreams and goals. Charlene has friends who help and support her along the way. I wrote a more extensive review on my blog at This book is a sweet and sensitive story. The author, Deanie H. Dunne, has written a sequel to this book, Charlene the Star and Hattie's Heroes which is equally entertaining.

Susie Honeycutt

Full of Life Lessons
By Susie Honeycutt on March 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book because it is full of life lessons for our children. The mother horse immediately prepares her young colt, Charlene, teaching her how to grow, play and make friends while all along encouraging her that she is beautiful. The mother also teaches Charlene that whatever direction she chooses in life it will be good and not to believe she has to always be like everyone else.
Charlene learns the art of working and growing up with the help of many others including a dog named, Elliott. In the end she finds that she is going to take a different road then most of her friends and family and discovers that she excels in the path she has chosen.

Sherry Ellis

Charming Story about Finding Your Talent and Working Hard to Achieve Your Dreams
BySherry EllisVINE VOICEon March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Charlene is a beautiful red horse who was born into a family of outstanding racehorses. Her father, mother, and big brother are all champion racers. Charlene, however, discovers that racing just isn't her thing. Fortunately, her trainers see this, and offer a different path: she becomes a show horse, competing in jumping events. This suits her perfectly, and she becomes a champion.

Charlene the Star is a lovely story that would appeal to kids age 7-12. The dialog between the animals is delightful. It's fun to be "inside" a horse's head to know what the animal is thinking. There is also a sweet friendship that develops between Charlene and a big dog named Elliott. Elliott proves to be a very supportive friend when Charlene needs him. The inherent message of the book is to find your talent and then work hard to develop it. This is a nice message that young kids need to hear. Charlene the Star is a enjoyable read, and one that I would recommend.

Laurie Loveman

5.0 out of 5 starsSure to be a Favorite
By Laurie Loveman on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
We first meet Charlene and her mother shortly after Charlene's birth on a horse farm. We see the world through Charlene's eyes and watch her experiencing all of the "firsts" in her life, just as her young readers are. Being able to "hear" Charlene's thoughts provides wonderful guidance for the friends she will make while reading this charming story.

CHARLENE THE STAR is a story everyone can identify with. I look forward to following the adventures of Charlene, her brother Charlie, and her friends. This is a first-class book for young readers!

Geri Ahearn

ByAuthor/Reviewer Geri AhearnTOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
When Charlene was born, her mother taught her all about life, and how to live it with happiness and fulfillment. Although Charlene was as beautiful as her big brother, Charlie, they both looked different. Charlie and his mom had black hair, but Charlene had shiny red hair. Charlie had white stockings, but Charlene didn't. Charlene had a star on her forehead, but Charlie didn't. As Charlene grew older, she learned that everyone, including her family and friends may look different, but are all unique in their own special way. Born into a family of famous race-horses, Charlene was convinced to follow the footsteps of fame and success in the same path that her family took. However, at a young age, Charlene knew what direction she wanted to go, but it wasn't the same direction that her parents and Charlie took. It was easy for Charlene to follow her dream, but very difficult to confess to her family that racing wasn't her dream or talent, and that she found it boring. Charlene's dream wasn't the same dream that her mother had for her, but her mother was her best friend, and she didn't want to disappoint her. Charlene's mother and her brother taught her that she must attempt to try racing as a test to see how good she would be. Unlike Charlie, Charlene protested with temper tantrums, but fulfilled her duties to make a decision after trying, with respect to her family. Charlene complimented Charlie, Ann, and Blossom for their fine work at Sweetbrier racing stable, knowing her talent was right across the street. Almost everyone that Charlene knew wanted to be a famous racehorse, just like Charlie. But no-one knew that Charlene's talent was quite different, except Charlene, Eva, and Ted. One of the happiest days in Charlene's life was being moved to 'Jumping For Joy Farm.' She finally began to follow her dream to the road of success, but was also away from her family and friends. With Elliot as her companion and new frend, she no longer felt lonely, and was able to focus on her work. Why was Charlene doing crow hops and yawning, while she was supposed to be racing with Ann and Blossom? How did Charlie respond when Charlene told him that she was embarrassed that she was last at the finish line? How did Charlene do at her First Real Jump? I highly recommend this book to children, parents, and teachers. Deanie fills each page with motivation and inspiration. This easy to read children's book is delightful and educational as it teaches young children to reach for the stars, and follow their dreams. The author teaches the young reader how to follow the footsteps of a good role model, and the importance of doing your best, regardless of which career path you choose. More important, with time and patience, our talents will blossom in our special place in the world. Did Elliot's friendship and Mary's praise make Charlene feel proud? How did Charlene do at the Sterling Club? Was number thirteen a lucky number for Charlene? How did Charlene's goals and dreams differ from the dreams Charlie had at her age? Does Charlene become a champion? "CHARLENE THE STAR" is funny, heartwarming, and as entertaining as THE HORSE WHISPERER!