The View From Saturday

 
(i)

 

Brilliant but complex novel for older kids.
Newbery Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Gifted kids finally get their due. These characters are not nerds --
they combine their intelligence with passion and depth to tell their
stories in ways that are both clever and moving. This story offers a refreshing take on competition and friendship.

Positive role models

The main characters not only compete in an academic contest (contest
answers included at the back!) but also outwit the class bullies using
brains, not brawn.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

One veiled reference to making love, made by an amorous grandpa about his bride.

Language

Correct words used for donkey and female dog, but the characters clearly acknowledge the words' use as vulgarity.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that superb writing and characters make for a great story, but complexities of plot and style may leave some readers frustrated or bored.

What's the story?

An uproarious Florida wedding, a rain-soaked rescue of sea turtles, and a mysterious invitation to afternoon tea are the connections that draw sixth-graders Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian into a fast friendship. Master-author Konigsburg gives each of these memorable characters a turn telling how they formed an unbeatable team in their school's Academic Bowl, in this brilliant but complex novel.

When asked how she chose her school's latest team for the Academic Bowl, sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Olinksi never gives the same answer twice. Sure, the four sixth-graders from her homeroom are intelligent, they work well together, they practice hard. But what is the mysterious bond that links these four underdogs?

Only Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian know -- and in alternating chapters, each one tells a different piece of the story of how they became friends. The calamitous wedding of Nadia's grandfather and Ethan's grandmother, where Noah fills in as best man, is just the beginning. Mrs. Olinski, a paraplegic, proves to be an indomitable coach as the foursome wins one victory after another.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nadia, Noah, Ethan, and Julian each narrates a part of the book. Part of the pleasure comes from watching the foursome's varied life experiences help them succeed as an Academic Bowl Team, and part comes from the suspense generated at the story's beginning: How does Mrs. Olinski select the children for her team? The story's themes -- that life is a journey, that no part of our experience is lost -- appear in touches as varied as Nadia's talented dog, Julian's shipboard apprenticeship with a magician, and sea-turtle lore. Master storyteller E.L. Konigsburg weaves these elements together into a satisfying and thought-provoking whole, though one so intricately constructed that it will be confusing to inexperienced readers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about friendship. How do the Souls work together?

Book details

Author:E. L. Konigsburg
Genre:Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1996
Number of pages:163
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

This review of The View From Saturday was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
 

one of the best books i ever read!

i read this book for reading olympics when i was 10 and now almost 12 i still love this book!
Teen, 13 years old Written byVeeda May 26, 2011
 

Gotta think

I read it in 5th grade and I thought it was good, though I didn't understand most parts. You need a bit of brain to understand and fully enjoy it but nontheless I really liked it. You just need to think and then you'll get it. There are bad words and references to drugs but I think the drugs the dog treats had were different so it might now count.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written bypielover98 December 30, 2010
 
i think that this book was really bad and i hated it i dont recocmend it it is to confusing also there is some drugs and some bad words really not the book for a child
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass