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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Charlene may be a champion show jumper, but she comes from racing stock and she understands the pressures placed on race horses as they train and prepare, then run the big race. While staying at the racing stable, Charlene hears about Tiger Lily who has the potential to be a great race horse, but she stops dead if she’s bumped by another horse and she doesn’t like having mud fly in her face. In fact, she’s scared. Charlene and her friends, Wooliam the sheep, Hattie the chicken and Elliott the dog, all team up to help Tiger Lily overcome her fears. As Tiger Lily progresses towards becoming a champion race horse, she also learns to respect the other horses that she races against. Giving them encouragement seems to provide her with the encouragement that she needs, even when they don’t show the same courtesies in return.
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne’s children’s early chapter book, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, is another joyful romp in the paddock type of story from the Charlene series. Like the other stories, this one provides young readers with lots of horse sense and excitement, as well as teaching them simple things about manners and respect. The animal characters are fun and enjoyable as they seek ways to help each other. The plot follows a plan to start a business that helps other animals overcome their fears and become the best they can be, while still sharing good manners and respect. This is a great story for horse and animal lovers.