Bella’s Nook: The Candle Star

15 Aug


Hi, I’m Bella and this is the first review that I’m doing on my mom’s website.  I chose to review The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff and I really loved it. 

The Candle Star is set back in the slave days and is about a 12-year old girl, Emily Preston, who lives on a plantation in South Carolina, but whose parents send her to stay with her uncle in Detroit.   Apparently, her parents think that she could use an attitude adjustment and that her uncle could maybe help with that.  And her parents are right.  Emily is sarcastic and self-important.  When she first arrives at her uncle’s, she decides that she will be so unlikeable that her uncle will send her home. 

Ms. Isenhoff writes in a very descriptive way.  It is so colorful that I felt like I could really see what was happening. There were a couple of times, like when Emily was being mean to the old slave man who accompanied her on her trip, when I just felt like crying.  But that’s a good thing- it was just because Ms. Isenhoff’s writing was so good.  She showed Emily’s character development from the beginning, when Emily was self-absorbed to the end, when Emily had learned that there are larger things in life than herself.

I liked the Candle Star because it showed a period of time that I haven’t had a chance yet to learn much about.  And Ms. Isenhoff made it come alive for me.  Her characters were all so vivid that I felt like I actually knew them and I was sad when the book was over.

The only thing that was hard for me was some of the slave dialogue.  It was hard for me to understand and I had to read it twice.  But that wasn’t the author’s fault- it seems like it was the way they truly spoke, so she was being true to the era. 

I would recommend The Candle Star to anyone. And in fact, when school starts, I’m going to recommend it to my teacher.  It would be great for my class to read.    The characters were likeable, the writing was vivid and interesting and the plot was complex.  I give it 5/5 stars. 


When Emily was a little girl, her father had taken her outside in each season and pointed out the pictures in the stars, explaining the ancient lore behind them.  She wondered if he was looking up at the same stars right now.

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”

Emily started.  She hadn’t heard Malachi approach. 

“Looks like you can just reach up and pluck one down, maybe set it in a ring,” he said.  “It’d be the most beautiful piece of jewelry you ever laid eyes on.” 

He pointed to the giant dipper.  “See the last two stars in the bowl of the spoon?  They line up just right and point the way to the North Star.”

Emily had learned that when she was six.

“When I was little, I remember Mama setting a candle in the window on the nights Daddy would get in late.  I slept sound on those nights, confident that beacon was guiding my daddy home.” 

He paused as he contemplated the night sky.  “The North Star is sort of like a candle that God hung up special to guide His lost children.  Lot of black folks looking up at it right now, directing themselves home to freedom.”

About Michelle Isenhoff

Michelle Isenhoff is a children’s lit junkie.  She grew up with a book in hand, choosing a career in teaching, in part, because she never outgrew these fabulous stories.  When she quit teaching to raise a family, she tried her hand at a children’s novel.  She was hooked!  Since then, she has released three books celebrating American’s unique history.  Ever a teacher at heart, she makes a variety of teaching tools available on her website to use her books in a classroom.  Currently, Michelle is finishing the final book of her Civil War trilogy and putting the final touches on a brand new fantasy.  To learn more about Michelle, you can find her on her website:

Links to find The Candle Star:


3 Responses to “Bella’s Nook: The Candle Star”

  1. hopelessandme August 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    I did enjoy reading your review of The Candle Star. It sounds like a good book for children to read and I believe adults will enjoy it too.. The review itself is different from others I have read. You are speaking from the heart and are obviously wound up in the story which puts me in there too. As a general rule, I do not read children’s books, but this one sounds like a good read, even for me.

    Thank you, Bella.

    Barbara b

  2. Wren Andre August 16, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    Really well-written review! It makes me want to read it. I like your idea of recommending it to your teacher when school starts.


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