Why did Mrs. Olinski choose this particular sixth grade Academic Bowl team?
The question has been posed to Mrs. Olinski many times, and despite no dearth of good answers—their quickness to learn, their willingness to study, their ability to work together—none of them can quite explain how she decided to pair Noah Gershom, Nadia Diamondstein, Ethan Potter and Julian Singh. She doesn’t know herself.
But the lives of these four unlikely sixth graders began to collide long before Mrs. Olinski began preparing her team for the Academic Bowl, and these are the stories which unfold as overlapping flashbacks while they ascend through the ranks of the Academic Bowl championship.
Noah accidentally becomes best man at a wedding. Nadia rescues sea turtles on a trip with her grandmother. Ethan takes a ride on the bus with someone he’s never met before, and Julian makes a choice backstage in the school auditorium. These are the tales which lead up to Mrs. Olinski’s decision: tales of their differences, their friendships, and the experiences they all have in common.
I first read The View from Saturday years ago, and rereading it, I’m not surprised it stayed with me. E. L. Konigsburg expertly crafts four intersecting stories, one for each character, which delve deeply into Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian, so as a reader, you know each of them intimately. Although at first these stories seem unrelated, they pull together in a truly amazing way. I especially love the elements of the Academic Bowl—having participated in a similar competition, it felt extremely realistic to me. I highly recommend The View from Saturday to readers ages eight and up.