The View from Saturday

The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg, 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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689821639
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 04/07/1998
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 7.58(h) x 0.47(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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.

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.

Reading Group Guide

Teaching Guide
About the Book
Mrs. Eva Marie Olinski is charged with appointing four students to represent her sixth-grade class in the Epiphany Middle School Academic Bowl competition. Though she doesn't have a clue as to why she chooses Noah, Ethan, Nadia, and Julian, she has a premonition that her decision is a good one. These four students, calling themselves "The Souls," surprise everyone by defeating the seventh and eighth graders and winning the school-wide competition. When they go on to win the state Academic Bowl Championship, Mrs. Olinski begins to realize what she didn't know in the beginning. Each of "The Souls" had been on a journey — a journey that interlocked their lives like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. What Noah, Ethan, Nadia, and Julian had learned along the way is the true meaning of friendship. What they discover when they find one another is that kindness and friendship make them a team.
Pre-reading Activity
The View from Saturday is about teamwork. Divide the class into three teams. Assign each team five questions taken from the fifteen questions at the end of the novel. Allot the teams one class period to find the answers to the questions. Tell them that they may use reference sources in the media center or search for answers on the Internet. Allow each team time to share their answers with the class. Then engage the class in a discussion about teamwork. How does a group become a team? What is the responsibility of each team member? Ask each group to explain how they organized their team.
Discussion Topics

  • The four sixth graders on Mrs. Olinski's academic team call themselves "The Souls." Mrs. Olinski tells them that "they were a team as soon as they became 'The Souls.'" Why is "The Souls" a good name for these four students? At what point does Mrs. Olinski realize that "The Souls" would make a good academic team? How does Mrs. Olinski become a "Soul" herself? Why does Mrs. Olinski not know why she chose "The Souls" as her team until the end of the novel?
  • Mrs. Olinski and Dr. Rohmer have a discussion about diversity and multiculturalism. Explain what Dr. Rohmer means when he says, "Jews, half-Jews, and WASPs have nothing to do with diversity...The Indian does." What is the difference between diversity and multiculturalism? How is diversity important to a successful team? How might Mrs. Olinski's definition of diversity differ from Dr. Rohmer's definition? Discuss what is unique and diverse about each of "The Souls."
  • Nadia and her father help Grandpa Izzy and Margaret save the turtles. How do the turtles help Nadia? What does Nadia's father mean when he says, "And there will be times when you or I will need a lift between switches"? How do Mrs. Olinski and the other "Souls" feel "stranded" like the turtles? How do you know that each of "The Souls" needs a lift? How do their individual needs contribute to their success as a team?
  • "The Souls" seem to know a lot about teamwork long before becoming a team. Discuss how saving the turtles helps Nadia and Ethan learn about teamwork. What does Noah's role in the wedding of Izzy Diamondstein and Margaret Draper teach him about teamwork? How does Julian learn about being a team player on the cruise ship?
  • Margaret Draper retired from education because she couldn't deal with the drastic changes in the students. She says that students had stopped asking "Now what?" and began asking "So what?" Discuss the difference between these questions. Mrs. Olinski chooses Ethan, Margaret Draper's grandson, for the academic team when she realizes that he still asks the question "Now what?" How is asking "Now what?" an important quality for a member of an academic team? How might asking "So what?" be the demise of a team of any type?
  • There are times in life when one has to take risks in order to be successful. How do "The Souls" and Mrs. Olinski demonstrate their willingness to take risks? How does this contribute to their success as a team?
  • Each member of "The Souls" is resourceful and each, at some point, demonstrates courage. How does Noah's resourcefulness save the day at Izzy and Margaret's wedding? How does Julian's manner in handling the bully, Ham Knapp, reveal that he is both resourceful and courageous? How does being resourceful and courageous contribute to "The Souls" becoming a team?
  • Mrs. Olinski is a teacher who can tolerate mischief, but she cannot accept malice. Discuss the difference between mischief and malice. How is Ham Knapp guilty of malice? How can mischief and malice interfere with learning? Ham Knapp is very intelligent, but his behavior keeps him off the academic team. How does his behavior indicate that he isn't a team player?

Reaching Across the Curriculum: Activities and Research
Pretend that you are on the staff of The Epiphany Middle School newspaper. Write a feature article about "The Souls." Include an interview with each of "The Souls" and Mrs. Olinski.
Read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. How might Claudia and Jamie Kincaid be considered "Souls?" Write a letter that Claudia and Jamie might write to "The Souls" congratulating them on their victory.
Izzy Diamondstein and Margaret Draper are married in a Jewish ceremony. Research the meaning of the chupah, the bridal canopy, and other significant parts of the ceremony. Contrast their wedding ceremony with wedding ceremonies in other religions.
Margaret Draper and Izzy Diamondstein do volunteer work in their community. Margaret volunteers at the garden club, and Izzy at the public library. Find places in your city or community that use senior citizens as volunteers. Are there places or agencies that use the volunteer services of young teenagers? How does volunteering relate to teamwork? Why is teamwork essential for a strong and healthy community?
The sea turtles that Nadia and Ethan help save are a threatened species. Find out the difference between threatened and endangered. What animals that live in your area of the country have been placed on the threatened or endangered species list by the Environmental Protection Agency? What state and federal laws protect them? How are the laws enforced in your state?
Nadia gets an A on a report that she writes about the five kinds of sea turtles. Brainstorm the kind of information that Nadia might have included in her paper. Prepare a report on one of the following types of sea turtles: loggerheads, greens, leatherbacks, hawkbills, or Kemp's ridley.
Develop a list of behavioral characteristics that you would label mischief and those that you would label malice. Observe student behavior in your school for one week and chart behaviors in the two categories. Construct a graph that illustrates the occurrences of such behavior in your school. What can you deduct from your observation about student behavior in your school?
Have a victory tea party for "The Souls" at Sillington House. Prepare typical foods for high English tea. Write invitations to the party in calligraphy. Play background music that would be especially appealing to "The Souls." Select from among your belongings at home an appropriate item as a gift for each of "The Souls" and Mrs. Olinski. Be prepared to share why you chose each specific gift.
This guide was prepared by Pat Scales. She is the library media specialist at Greenville Middle School, Greenville, South Carolina, and she teaches children's literature at Furman University.

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The View from Saturday 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 230 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.'