From the Publisher
"five short stories...all crisp and compactly tailored in setting forth their common theme of self-awareness."
Booklist, starred review
"Five short stories...all crisp and compactly tailored in setting forth their common theme of self-awareness." Booklist, starred review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This 1996 Newbery Medal winner charts the ties that bind four members of an extraordinarily successful 6th-grade quiz bowl team. In a starred review, PW called it "glowing with humor and dusted with magic." Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Donna Brumby
The expertise and experience of the author glimmer in this intriguing novel about the journey and triumph of Epiphany Middle School's sixth-grade scholastic bowl team. Already showing up on several "best of the year" lists, The View from Saturday is a solidly crafted, but not uncomplicated, story that does deserve the attention of young teens. But its quaint style, slightly artificial young characters, and emphasis on retirement living may keep it from reaching its intended audience. Sadly, the unappealing book cover on the hardback won't be of help to teachers and librarians attempting to "sell" this book either. Inclusion on reading lists, and hopefully a more attractive paperback version in the future, may be the only hopes for this book that many readers will probably really enjoy if they ever give it a try. A Newberry Medal winner.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
"What is the meaning of the word calligraphy and from what language does it derive? Noah Gershom's buzzer sounded first." So begins a chapter on Noah's life and how he became part of 'The Souls,' a team of 4 sixth graders from Epiphany Middle School who are participating in the district's Academic Bowl. Guided by Mrs. Olinski, their teacher, a paraplegic, the 4 soon become soul mates. A tight bond forms between them as they mix and match their idiosyncrasies and their personalities. This is a story of friendship, compassion, growth, and the empowerment of learning. It is also about confidence and success and the value of always having goals. Finally, Mrs. Olinski understands how and why she chose Noah, Nadia, Ethan and Julian to represent their school. Winner of the 1997 Newbery Medal.
Children's Literature - Heidi Green
Readers will enjoy this reissued version of Newbery Medal winning-author E. L. Konigsburg's 1979 short story masterpiece. Though she is probably best known for her novels (The View from Saturday, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and others), Konigsburg deserves equal recognition for this striking collection of short stories. Throwing Shadows is a nicely cohesive work: each of the five stories is a first-person narration and each deals with the narrator's growing sense of self. Despite that framework, the stories are radically different. They vary in setting (a Florida beach, an Ecuadorian village, a nursing home) and character (a recuperating boy, a tour guide, an orphaned entrepreneur), as well as experience. These differences should appeal to many readers. A nice addition to the 1998 release is Konigsburg's explanation of her inspiration for each story, sure to appeal to aspiring young authors.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Take four sixth graders; combine them as the Epiphany School team for Academic Bowl; add one paraplegic teacher; toss in formal tea times, grandparents of team members getting married, and some magic and calligraphy. Stir them with Konigsburg's masterful hand and you have an ingenious story. Nadia, Noah, Julian, and Ethan are not the top honor students, but Mrs. Olinski has chosen them for other reasons, ones unclear even to her. As the team beats all odds and expectations and reaches the finals, flashbacks told by each member shape a scenario that's like a bundle of pick-up sticks, each piece touching, supporting, and overlapping with the others, and one move effects them all. Stunning interplay of Nadia's turtle watches on Florida beaches, Noah's role as best man at a senior-citizen wedding, Ethan's discovery of himself through new friends, and Julian's ethical decision involving a bully skillfully wrap their stories into one, with amazing insights. Brilliant writing melds with crystalline characterizations in this sparkling story that is a jewel in the author's crown of outstanding work.Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Admirable acts, challenging ideas, and grace notes positively festoon this superb tale of four sixth graders and a paraplegic teacher forming a junior high Academic Bowl team that sweeps away the competition.
The plot is composed of interwoven puzzles. What prompts Mrs. Olinski to choose Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian for the team over the usual overachievers and honor students in her class? What do they know about her, themselves, and each other that puts them so precisely on the same wavelength and gives them such complementary knowledge and experience? Each has a tale to tell, in the course of which all four witness acts of kindness and respect that teach them to find those feelings in themselves and others. In wry prose filled with vivid imagery, information, and often oblique clues, Konigsburg takes her team through bonding, drills, and a series of contests as suspenseful as any in sports fiction; the children and Mrs. Olinski's public triumph mirror inner epiphanies of rare depth and richness. The large cast, looping plot line, and embedded stories with different narrators require careful sorting, but the effort is eminently worthwhile, and Konigsburg kindly provides answers at the end.