Friday, August 6, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #87

Novel #87 = great success!  Especially when compared to the epic fail that was The High King.  Now I'm not saying the author Lloyd Alexander is (was?) a failure; I'm sure that most of the blame lies with me, my lack of sleep and my underlying disinterest in most things fairy-ish or knight-y.  (Clearly I am taking advantage of a writer's right to make up words in this instance.) (We DO get to do that, right?)

In many circles, The High King must be all the rage.  I mean, boyfriend did get a Newbery award.  Usually, I'm all about the shiny circle on the front cover.  I can easily judge a book by it's cover and the sight of that little gold symbol of fabulousness definitely sways my opinion.  However, I have to admit that several times as I plowed through the first 50 pages, I thought to myself, "Hey John!"  (Wait, did I lose you?  Sorry. John is Mr. Newbery...evidently the man behind the award.)  Anyway, I thought to myself, "Self, John is losing his touch." 

Well, friends, John has redeemed himself in the form of this next literary treat.  (Nerd alert!)  Novel #87 is A View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg.  And that shiny little Newbery circle?  Very much deserved. 

The View from Saturday (Trust me.  Click here.)

This book was a total joy to read.  (I feel kind of lame after typing that last sentence, but it's totally true.  I loved this book!) 

I will try to summarize, but, as you know, Mrs. Mimi is not one who is adept at putting things succinctly in nut shells. 

Basically, this teacher, Mrs. Olinski, has chosen four students to represent the sixth grade in the upcoming academic bowl.  These kids are super smart, totally kick ass and make it all the way to the big tournament of nerds.  (No, it's not actually called the "tournament of nerds" but it could have been.)  (As a nerd myself, I feel VERY MUCH entitled to make that last statement.  I've been to the nerd bowl before.  I've earned the right.)  Anyhow, as the story unfolds, we learn about each of these four kids, what brought them to this place and how they came to know so much about so many random things. 

Did that last bit even make sense?

In the elusive (for me) nutshell, these four kids are very special and their stories interweave in insanely interesting and creative ways.  The best part is how it all comes together in the are left feeling as if these children and this teacher were meant to find each other and have this experience.  Very destiny.  Very cosmic. 

Clearly, the idea of having such an intense experience with students is like drool-fest 2010.  I was totally drawn into this story and think it would make an absolute fabulous read aloud and/or independent text.  HEART IT!  From chapter to chapter you are left hanging about how everyone fits together and are dying to know more about each character.  This book would also make a crazy interesting character study as these four characters are so well drawn and relatable (even for the non-nerds out there). 

Loved loved loved it - read it in three sittings.  Mini Mimi gives it two coos up....she really seemed to get into this one.  (Or maybe I'm just fooling myself.)

Anyhow, get it, read it, love it for yourself. 

Friends, it's August.  August.  AUGUST!  Get those pens out, make those lists and enjoy every second of your free time, 'cuz the beginning of the year is a comin'! 



rach :) said...

I give this book to my kids (meaning my relatives) when they enter 6th grade. And I read it to my HS friends last fall, and they totally got into it, too. This book ROCKS. I love it. Great message, great writing.... just great.

Margaret said...

I heart this book too!!! It is THE book that got me into reading Konigsburg books...I also like The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Greatness!

CoffeeShopBloggers said...

I absolutely LOVE The View from Saturday. It's her finest work; a really intricate weaving of stories that hang together as a whole greater than its parts. Tnanks for the post!

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on children's lit, education and parenting.

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