Sunday, September 28, 2014

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

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 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.

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.


Hilda K said...

I remember reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and fell in love with it totally. This book sounds just as amazing, Lauren! It's sounds unlike usual middle grade book. I'll make sure to try to find it when I have time. :)

Anyway, Children's Literature class sounds very interesting! How I wish I had that kind of class in my department. It must be nice to read MG titles for college tasks! :)

Melliane said...

I didn't know about this one but it's nice to discover some MG book. I don't read a lot of them I confess but this one sounds nice.

Tracy Terry said...

Loving the theme of showing the positives of opening yourself up to people. Looking at the cover I was surprised to learn this was in fact a book aimed at this age range.
I'm looking forward to seeing what other middle grade books you have in store for us.

Tanja - Tanychy said...

I haven't read any MG book lately but this seems really interesting. I love the idea and stories about friendship are my fave. I'm not sure about that many POVs but it seems to work in this one. Great review :)

Rachel said...

That's an interesting class assignment, Lauren. It was probably hard choosing a book. Nice to see you enjoyed it. I'm not into middle grade much but I don't read them hardly ever so that could be why. Great review! :)

Kindlemom said...

Glad this surprised you with how much you liked it and with how young it didn't feel consider the age target.
Great review!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

Oh, good, I'm on the lookout for good middle grade books for my kid these days so you being in this class will work out great for me too. And thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Liviania said...

This was one of my absolute favorites as a kid.

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't recall liking this, but I'd like to read it again. Maybe I'll have a different opinion.

I wasn't able to get on your blog for a while. Chrome kept saying there was malware on one of your widgets or links.

Karen Alderman said...

I don't read a lot of mid-grade by I'm always looking for something good to send my nieces and nephews. They have become avid readers.

Aylee said...

Wow, this brings me back! Or, well, it does in the sense that it brings me back to the age when I read this book, but I actually remember very little about it now. I'll have to do a reread sometime! It would be interesting reading it from an adult POV rather than the 11 years old that I was.