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The View From Saturday

Brilliant but complex novel for older kids.
Popular with kids

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.

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


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

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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?


Konigsburg weaves all the elements together into a satisfying and thought-provoking whole, though one so intricately constructed that it may be confusing to inexperienced readers.

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. 

Families can talk about...

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

Book details

Author:E. L. Konigsburg
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

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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
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!