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The View from Saturday

The View from Saturday

3.6 204
by E. L. Konigsburg

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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 team?
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


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 team?
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.
Mrs. Olinski, 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 chosen.
This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories -- one for each of the team members -- that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.

Editorial Reviews

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.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This multi-layered novel tells the story of four sixth-grade children selected for an Academic Bowl team. Below the plot surface lies a web of interconnections. Though at first the children seem quite different, two of the children are "related" when their grandparents marry and a third is, through a string of accidents, best man at this wedding. The fourth boy is an East Indian newly arrived in America, who unites the team with his instincts about their shared sensibilities. Throughout, there is a strong sense of larger forces at work. Who put the team together? Mrs. Olinski, the paraplegic teacher who can't explain her choices to the administration or herself? Or did the children chose her? And why do each of the children's specific areas of expertise show up in the contest questions? Konigsburg brilliantly quarters the story's telling, letting each child tell a part while Mrs. Olinski provides the narrative mortar. And the telling is a connected flow of story that, as with the team, is a very great whole. 1998 (orig.
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.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6E.L. Konigsburg's Newbery Award winner (Atheneum, 1996) makes a smooth transition into this medium. Mrs. Olinski and her four bright students make a dynamic team as read by this cast of competent actors. In this story of four sixth graders' victory in an Academic Bowl, Noah, Nadia, Ethan and Julian each tell their story. The foursome and the supporting characters come to life while Mrs. Olinski blossoms. Careful prose is well adapted into a funny, realistic, caring portrait through clear and varied voices. No bells and whistles are needed to bring this winner to life, just a skilled reading. Put this on the shelf and watch it fly.Angela J. Reynolds, West Slope Community Library, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
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Sales rank:
870L (what's this?)
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski always gave good answers. Whenever she was asked how she had selected her team for the Academic Bowl, she chose one of several good answers. Most often she said that the four members of her team had skills that balanced one another. That was reasonable. Sometimes she said that she knew her team would practice. That was accurate. To the district superintendent of schools, she gave a bad answer, but she did that only once, only to him, and if that answer was not good, her reason for giving it was.

The fact was that Mrs. Olinski did not know how she had chosen her team, and the further fact was that she didn't know that she didn't know until she did know. Of course, that is true of most things you do not know up to and including the very last second before you do. And for Mrs. Olinski that was not until Bowl Day was over and so was the work of her four sixth graders.

They called themselves The Souls. They told Mrs. Olinski that they were The Souls long before they were a team, but she told them that they were a team as soon as they became The Souls. Then after a while, teacher and team agreed that they were arguing chicken-or-egg.

Whichever way it began — chicken-or-egg, team-or-The Souls — it definitely ended with an egg. Definitely, an egg.

People still remark about how extraordinary it was to have four sixth graders make it to the finals. There had been a few seventh graders scattered among the other teams, but all the rest of the middle school regional champs were eighth graders. Epiphany had never before won even the local championship, and there they were, up on stage, ready to compete for the state trophy. All four members of Maxwell, the other team in the final round, were in the eighth grade. Both of the Maxwell boys' voices had deepened, and the girls displayed lacy bra straps inside their T-shirt necklines. The fact that the necklines were outsized and that the two pairs of straps matched — they were apricot-colored — made Mrs. Olinski believe that they were not making a fashion statement as much as they were saying something. To her four sixth graders puberty was something they could spell and define but had yet to experience.

Unlike football bowls, there had been no season tallies for the academic teams. There had been no best-of-five. Each contest had been an elimination round. There were winners, and there were losers. From the start, the rule was Lose one game, and you are out.

So it was on Bowl Day. At the start of the day, there had been eight regional champs. Now there were two — Epiphany and Maxwell.

It was afternoon by the time they got to the last round, and Mrs. Olinski sat shivering in a windowless room in a building big enough and official enough to have its own zip code. This was Albany, the capital of the state of New York. This was the last Saturday in May, and some robot — human or electronic — had checked the calendar instead of the weather report and had turned on the air-conditioning. Like everyone else in the audience, Mrs. Olinski wore a short-sleeved T-shirt with her team's logo across the front. Maxwell's were navy; Epiphany's were red and were as loud as things were permitted to get in that large, cold room. The audience had been asked not to whistle, cheer, stomp, hold up signs, wave banners, or even applaud. They were reminded that this Bowl was for brains, not brawn, and decorum — something between chapel and the order of the day.

Epiphany sat on one side of a long table; Maxwell, the other. At a lectern between them stood the commissioner of education of the state of New York. He smiled benevolently over the audience as he reached inside his inner breast pocket and withdrew a pair of reading glasses. With a flick of his wrist he opened them and put them on.

Mrs. Olinski hugged her upper arms and wondered if maybe it was nerves and not the quartering wind blowing from the ceiling vents that was causing her shivers. She watched with baited (and visible) breath as the commissioner placed his hand into a large clear glass bowl. His college class ring knocked bottom. (Had the room been two degrees colder, the glass would have shattered.) He withdrew a piece of paper, unfolded it, and read, "What is the meaning of the word calligraphy and from what language does it derive?"

A buzzer sounded.

Mrs. Olinski knew whose it was. She was sure of it. She leaned back and relaxed. She was not nervous. Excited, yes. Nervous, no.

The television lights glanced off Noah Gershom's glasses. He had been the first chosen.

Meet the Author

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View from Saturday. Among her other acclaimed books are Silent to the Bone, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World.

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The View from Saturday 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 204 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read ALL YEAR!!! This book has many layers. It is in the Elementary section and the main protagonists are 6th Graders, however, this is a complex book. I would recommend it for it's insight into each character and the spiritual character of the book. The book isn't religious but does have a special "feel" to it. However, if you are interested in action and adventure this is not the book for you! This book "jumps" from one character to another and back and forth in time. Some people will find this confusing and frustrating. All of the characters are connected in multiple ways but it is up to the reader to figure out these ways and at times re-reading sections helps the reader to understand the connections. I suspect that English teachers are going to add this book to the "classics list." I found this book very "deep and meaningful" and feel that both adults and children will want to read and re-read this book. I reminds me of Lois Lowry's writing.
Ashlee Raymond More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for my 6th grade summer reading and i loved it! It is my favorite book. Wish that there was a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The books is very good!! You have to take some time to understand it but once you do it is amazing book. Read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to understand at first but i read it a couple of times and started to understand. Speaking i am only 11. I would reccomend it to certain people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sounds like really good book. Cant wait to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is hard to follow and all over the place but before you read it ask your teacher if he or she suggests it for you.
designbyJudyJean More than 1 year ago
This was a good read because it had purpose in the way the story touched each one of the characters lives. Students will learn a lesson by understanding that other people having feelings and different viewpoints of a situation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The View From Saturday is a very exciting book. The book changes points of view and times very often, but it is altogether a good read. I'd recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of El Konigsburg's best piece of work. It shares the lives of all four students and their relationships with one Another. I really think anyone o f any age will love this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Souls have finally made it to the New York Academic Bowl finals. They have beaten many excellent teams from several districts and regions. The team, consisting of Noah Gershom, Nadia Diamondstein, Ethan Potter, and Julian Singh, has worked consistently and been rewarded. Now they must answer many difficult questions with complex answers. Will they succeed? The way to know is to read The View from Saturday, which I recommend. This book was unique because it interspersed flashbacks with the present. In order to come up with the answer to the question, ¿What is the meaning of the word calligraphy and from what language does it derive?,¿ Noah thought back to when he learned how to use a calligraphy pen. A similar solution occurred when Nadia answered a question about the Sargasso Sea by thinking back to saving baby turtles with her grandparents. Julian once thought back about when he saved Michael Froelich¿s dog, Arnold, from being tranquilized during a school play. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was that the characters were very different. Julian was an East Indian and very shy. Nadia was a Jewish and Christian hybrid, and loved her dog, Ginger. Ethan, although he wasn¿t very shy, hardly talked until he became one of The Souls. My favorite thing of all about this book was that I learned the answers to some challenging questions. I learned that Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. I also discovered the answer to the question: ¿What is SONAR an acronym for?¿ SONAR means SOund NAvigation Ranging, which uses sound waves to locate submerged objects. I even learned the order by which light enters each part of the human eye (cornea, aqueous humor, pupil of iris, vitreous humor, and finally, the retina). This book was intriguing. It taught me many things and made me understand them at a deeper level. This book is for readers who enjoy learning new things, and reading in past and present tense. T. Baker
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book about four great sixth-grade students and a great teacher. If the cover prevents its sale, then people shouldn't judge a book by its cover and only buy it and read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
E.L. Konigsburg was born on Feb. 10, 1930 in New York. She is the only author to win the Newbery award and be runner-up in the same year. She was the first in her family to get a college education. While she was studying for her Master¿s Degree in chemistry she blew up the laboratory sink twice. After that she decided to give up on chemistry. She became a science teacher and later began to write. She is married and has three children. The View From Saturday tells the story of a paraplegic teacher who studies her class and picks four students to compete on the Academic Bowl team. The team nicknames themselves ¿the souls¿. The story revolves around several different plots. The team goes on to win the state championship. Along the way you get caught up in their amazing stories that come together in the end. This book was slightly difficult to keep up with at times. I would not recommend it for any reader who struggles. I would say that the reading level should be raised to the seventh grade at least. The changing of plots makes the reading level more difficult. I probably would not recommend the book simply because the plots were difficult to follow. Konigsburg, E.L. The View From Saturday. New York, N.Y. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1998, c1996. Reading Level 5.9
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an OK book that is realistic fiction. This book is about a sixth grade teacher named Mrs. Olinski. Mrs. Olinski chooses four students from her class to compete in the Academic Bowl. The students nickname themselves 'the souls' and they win the state championship. When there are questions asked about the students on the team, startling secrets are revealed. The reading level for this book is for grades 9-12. Konigsburg, F.L. The View from Saturday. New York: Atheneum/Simon, 1996.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg is a spectacular book because of the unique qualities hidden inside. The author uses first point of view through out the book. The View from Saturday deserved the Newberry Medal. Because of Winn-Dixie and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants use the same theme as The View from Saturday: friendship. I would recommend this book because of the unlikely plot, the astonishing characters with a gorgeous setting under the bright sun, and the many uplifting connections I found within this engaging book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. The characters are awesome! Sure, the story isn't like 'wow', but pretty good. As a kid, I was excactly like Julian! Plus, there's nothing better than a bunch of genius kids enjoying a cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The View From Saturday was a book after my own experiences. I too was on my school's challenge bowl team (as one of the captains). It was ironic when I read this book because I could relate to it. My challenge bowl team placed 2nd in the district (the highest they have right now), and the four characters made 1st. I would change the fact that they won every challenge bowl meet. It's somewhat unreal to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a wonderful book about four students and their journey through a hard school year and Academic Bowl. And each Saturday, each of the the four members of the Academic Bowl make decisions on how to help their teacher who leads them to the finish line of the Bowl. As I said it's a great book, but it mighht be confusing and seem like a bad book to LOW-LEVEL READERS. I would only recommend this bookif you are seventh grade or higher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time in 7th grade and it is still amazing 3 years later. The book was amazing and I love how the title fits into the story. Everyone should read this book. If you don't you are missing out
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was about four children who were in the sixth grade and had chosen there teacher a paraplegic who had also chosen them to be in the academic bowl. they beat 7 and 8th grade and also won district. it was a really good novel and i would recremend it to anyone who loves to read and who doesnt like to read because i didnt want to read it before but when i picked it up i couldnt put it down and before i knew it i was through with it and had started on another one. Katie Maxwell
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has four sixth graders, and one student/ coach who rises up among all the other teachers, to go in the acedemic bowl state finals. This book is great for readers above the age on 11! I had to read this book over our spring break, (which I thought was horrible) and I actually enjoyed it! I reccommend it to anyone who enjoys reading cool, surprising books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave me new ideas and because of this book next year i'm trying out for knowledge bowl!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, though not my favorite, was an enjoyable read. It was interesting how the kids' lives were interconnected. There was a very modern twist to it. A lot of middle school students would relate with some of the issues. As a college student and future teacher I think it would actually be difficult for kids younger than sixth grade to thoroughly understand. It is quite comical.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a PISD book where every 6th grader was required to read it and take a whole unit test on it and make a scrapbook for it. This book was very interesting and had a good cause, accepting differences in others. But after the end, I was kind of sick of this book. If you are into metaphors and good purposes, you would love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually enjoyed reading this book- it is much different from any other young adult novel I've read. It weaves between the characters in terms of narration, giving us a glimpse of each of their thoughts and lives. The book was filled with warm characters and interesting situations. I agree that it will probably be confusing for most kids, but if they take up the task to read it, they will enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great, but can be confusing for little kids. It's confusing because they jump from Noah's life to Nadia's then to Ethan's an then to Julian's so if you can't handle switching lives, don't read it, but if you want a challange, read 'The View from Saturday.'