The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
Review by Lauren
Source: library copy; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a
number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen
Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good
It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski’s team
won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It
was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the
eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories,
everyone began to ask: How did it happen?
It happened at least
partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the
wedding of Ethan’s grandmother and Nadia’s grandfather. It happened
because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles
die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone.
And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and
saw in the other three something he also valued.
returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile
accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding
confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was
that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been
Review: I’m in a Children’s Literature class at the moment, and because of that, you will probably see a lot of middle grade book reviews for the next few months. The View from Saturday was a book I chose to read for my class, as we had to choose a Newbery winner from the decade we were born. This book is quite intriguing. I didn’t find myself going “this is middle grade” while reading. Instead, I was surprised by the writing style and the overall story for an MG audience.
The View from Saturday is told from various points of view. Each of the children on the academic team tell their particular story that supposedly led them to being chosen. These are all in first person point of view. In between those tales, we get Mrs. Olinski and the current storyline of the academic competitions, which are all told in third person point of view. It might sound a bit confusing, but it’s not. I found it easy to read and the book itself is not very long.
Konigsburg has written a smart novel that shows the hidden depths within people, regardless of age. It highlights friendship and differences, showing the positives of opening yourself up to people. It’s not like most middle grade novels, but that’s not a bad thing.