Cindy Benabderrahman's Reviews > The View from Saturday

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
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's review
Apr 20, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: books-4-children, edu-543-lit-4-children-project, ya
Recommended for: underdogs
Read in January, 2009 , read count: 1

Mrs. Olinski comes back to teaching after a tragic car accident in which she was crippled and lost her husband, and she’s set to the task of choosing a class academic team. The four students she chooses come to be known as The Souls, and each of them and Mrs. Olinski is challenged and changed for the better through the experience, as they come to be a local phenomenon. They’re the first group of 6th graders to ever win the Academic Bowl, but that’s not the real significance to the story. . The real story is how they won the heart of Mrs. Olinski, and what happens as they all go on proverbial journeys, intertwining where they came from and where they’re all going, and how it all revolves around High Tea.

Through multi-voiced narrative, flipping back and forth between the five quirky main characters, Konigsburg’s story tells the same story recursively, from different points of view, and so we understand it in several different lights. However, even though the characters were quirky, and Konigsburg did not rely on stereotypes, there was still an unbelievable quality to them. I think that the book can be inspiring and motivating to a young kid who might not be the most athletic or the most talented in sports or other extra-curriculars, because this book shows that the underdogs with the unusual families or the off-beat personalities can still find a forum in which to shine. It also shows young people (and teachers, too) how to have a healthy, personable, appropriate relationship/friendship with a teacher, and how those relationships foster whole communities of learning. This is a real root-for-the-underdog kind of book, and it is written in a style I very much enjoy, and rewarding for its message of the importance of kindness and of friends, but there were some small failures in addressing believability—some of it was just a little too incredible to assign literary truth.


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