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The Rising Star of Rusty Nail Hardcover – June 12, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Not much happens in Rusty Nail, Minnesota. Oh, it was once the Coot Capitol of the World, but now it's 1953, and that distinction is long past. Still, 10-year-old Franny Hansen and her raucous best friend, Sandy, manage to have fun, mostly involving harrassing prissy Nancy, the richest girl in town. There is one thing that Franny is serious about, and that's her piano playing. True, her teacher mostly sleeps through lessons (a cigarette dangling from her lips), but when Franny outplays Nancy in a school assembly, she knows her talent is something to be nutured. Then despair sets in. How can she progress when there's no one good enough to give her lessons? Enter Olga Malenkov. The locals buzz that a "commie" has come to town, but Franny is thrilled when she hears Olga play and realizes she would make a perfect teacher. Too bad, Olga wants nothing to do with Franny. Blume offers a story that is as rich as it is delicious. Using a narrative style that's slighty over the top, she sets Franny, by turn hopeful and hopeless, and her passion for the piano against the larger issues of the Red Scare that were so emblematic of the time. The characters, especially those in supporting roles, are as nuanced as they are humorous. Sandy is in equal parts proud of Franny's talent and threatened by it, and Mr. Hansen, who gave up his own musical dreams, shrugs off his ineffectuality to support his daughter. Read this one aloud and then talk about it. Cooper, Ilene

Review

★ “A story that is as rich as it is delicious.”—Booklist, Starred

“Blume has skillfully combined humor, history, and music to create an enjoyable novel that builds to a surprising crescendo.”—School Library Journal



From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375835245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375835247
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,361,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lesley M. M. Blume is an author, journalist, columnist, and cultural observer based in New York City. She did her undergraduate work at Williams College and Oxford University, and took her graduate degree in history from Cambridge University, where she was a Herchel Smith fellow.

Ms. Blume has authored three critically-acclaimed children's novels for Knopf. Upon the release of her third novel, Tennyson, reviewers and critics placed her in the same class as writers Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote ("Brilliant, unusual writing."--The Chicago Tribune). Ms. Blume's first collection of short stories, Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties, was published on September 14, 2010.

As a journalist, Ms. Blume began her career at The Jordan Times in Amman and Cronkite Productions in New York City. She later became an off-air reporter and researcher for ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel in Washington, D.C., where she helped cover the historic presidential election in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and countless other events and topics.

Now writing full-time, Ms. Blume covers culture, media, politics, and fashion (and sometimes the thorny politics of fashion). Her work has appeared in many publications, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and The Daily Beast, among others. She co-created and served as founding editor of The Window, Barneys New York's online fashion and culture magazine, where she remains editor-at-large; she is also The Huffington Post's longtime contributing style editor.

On November 1, 2010, Chronicle Books released to great acclaim Let's Bring Back, a book by Ms. Blume based on her popular column of the same name for The Huffington Post. Starting in 2012, Chronicle will release a series of topic-specific editions of Let's Bring Back, as well as a line of ancillary products.

Ms. Blume lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and their French bulldog, who was a featured character in Ms. Blume's bestselling book, Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters.

Sadly, most of her heroes and heroines are dead or fictional. They include but are not restricted to: Diana Vreeland, Marlene Dietrich, Isak Dinesen, Katharine Graham, Zero Mostel, Royal Tenenbaum, the Marchesa Casati, Oscar Wilde, Elsa Schiaparelli, Anthony Blanche, Flora Post, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lee Miller, Edith Wharton, and Collette.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mimagirl on August 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Frances Hansen is a child piano prodigy - or that's what her dad thinks, anyway. She loves the way she feels when she plays, but it feels pointless to practice when there's no one in Rusty Nail, Minnesota to play for. When it's announced that an important visitor is coming to town, Frances sees it as her only chance to become "discovered" . . . but she has a tough enemy in Nancy "Prancy" Orilee, the richest girl in town, who also wants to be a pianist sensation.

The author has captured small-town-in-the-Midwest life to an almost uncanny perfection. The book had me laughing aloud more than once! It was completely witty and delightful, and the descriptions and characters were all a joy to read. Lesley M. M. Blume is a rising star in children's literature, and you most certainly won't want to miss her new and dazzling story of a small-town girl with big dreams.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Blum on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Franny and Sandy are enchantingly naughty without being purposely "bad". They just like to have a good time. Their friendship; the rivalry between Franny and the snooty Nancy; Franny's pianistic aspirations, so out of the ordinary for the time and place she is growing up; the mysterious and haughty Olga...the book has a well woven and well thought-out plot progression and is written in great style. It's funny, it's touching, it's a great book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lesley M.M. Blume's THE RISING STAR OF RUSTY NAIL tells of piano prodigy Franny, living in a sleepy farm town watching her talents go to waste - until a mysterious Russian woman awakens the town's fears. But Franny sees her as a ticket out of town: can she defy the town's prejudices to see a way out?
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Format: Paperback
I found this story very intriguing (as an adult). Great mixture of the era of USA not trusting Joe McCarthy (as a WI native) and his revenge to dilvulge "Commies". this was an embarrassing time in USA history. Who trusted who. In the midst of all of this history, Franny was a simple girl from a simple home (and a mom who couldn't cook)and simple life in Rusty Nail. Franny wins in the end, but not quite the way she thought it would. Charming book for young children to enjoy. I plan on purchasing book for my church library for the "clean" story that it is and wholesome message of a sound family life, dreams and happy endings. Good writing and enjoy the read.
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