The View from Saturday Study Guide

The View from Saturday

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

The View From Saturday is a children's novel which tells the story of four students-Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian-as they compete to win the New York State Academic Bowl. The structure of the story reveals scenes from each child's past in which they learned the answers to the questions being asked. The story of Mrs. Olinski, the students' teacher, is also told as the book reveals why these four students make such a good team, and why winning isn't everything.

Middle school teacher Eva Marie Olinski returns to teaching after an accident left her paraplegic. She chooses four of her sixth-grade students (Ethan, Noah, Nadia, and Julian), who form a group they call "The Souls," to represent her class in the Academic Bowl competition. They defeat the other sixth-grade teams, then the seventh- and eighth-grade champions at Epiphany, and so on until they become New York state middle school champions.

The children help their teacher live a happier life after her win. A child named Hamilton Knapp makes fun and makes life harder for her. Later The Souls stick out their arms and legs when Mrs. Olinski stands up for herself when Hamilton and his follower Jared Lord harass the class. They stick out their limbs to show that she can stand up for herself.

Between chapters that feature the progress of the competition, each of the four students narrates one chapter related both to the development of The Souls and to a question in the state championship final. Noah Gershom recounts learning calligraphy and being best man for his grandfather's friend at his wedding in Century Village in Florida. Nadia Diamondstein describes working to conserve sea turtles and meeting Ethan, also at Century Village.

Ethan Potter tells of meeting Julian, a new boy in town, and attending his tea parties, where the four Souls became friends. Julian Singh explains being new at school and tells of handling a chance for revenge against one of the bullies— remarkably grounded in the part played by Nadia's dog in the school musical "Annie".

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