Study Guide

The View from Saturday Ethan Explains the B and B Inn

By E. L. Konigsburg

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Ethan Explains the B and B Inn

  • Ethan knows all about New York, because his family has lived there for centuries. There's even a picture of his great-great-great-grandmother in the county museum.
  • Fun thoughts for the first day of school, when is when this chapter opens.
  • Ethan, for some reason we can't really figure out yet, doesn't like to have a seatmate.
  • In fact, it seems like he just doesn't like mates, period.
  • So anyway, he's got this method for keeping people from sitting next to him. It's some complicated maneuver with his leg and a bookbag, and it always works.
  • Until this morning.
  • As they're driving along, the bus passes a new housing development—you know the type.
  • This one is a little weird to Ethan, because it's called The Farm. Nice name, right? Very agrarian.
  • What's weird is that Ethan really is a farmer—or at least his family is. So, he doesn't really get fake farms.
  • But it's cool. Ethan is musing about all this when the bus stops somewhere unusual—Sillington House, the old mansion that belonged to the farm that's been turned into The Farm.
  • A kid gets on. But not just any kid. This guy—well, he obviously didn't get the memo, because he's not only wearing knee socks and shorts but carrying a bookbag, like an actual leather bag that you put books in. And he's Indian. And he waves goodbye to his dad like a little kid. And then he walks right down the whole length of the bus and introduces himself to Ethan. In a British accent. And then shakes his hand.
  • If you haven't gotten it by now, Julian Singh is definitely not from around here.
  • Ethan literally cannot believe that this kid has chosen him as his new BFF, but he can't help asking questions.
  • Turns out, Julian's dad has bought Sillington House to turn it into a B & B—a bed-and-breakfast hotel. (By now, you shouldn't be surprised to know that Noah's mom was the realtor.)
  • Ethan's day gets even better when he realizes that this weird new kid is in his homeroom.
  • Time for the second surprise of the day: Mrs. Olinski, the new teacher, is in a wheelchair.
  • Her day gets off to a bad start, too, when a kid named Hamilton Knapp meanly asks her to write higher on the blackboard. Unless her wheelchair is on hydraulics, that's going to be a little difficult.
  • Mrs. O writes a long word on the board: paraplegic. In other words, she's paralyzed from the waist down.
  • At lunch, Nadia, Noah, and Ethan all end up eating together.
  • Julian chows down alone and then leaves without asking permission. When the kids get back to their room after lunch, they see that someone has erased "paraplegic" and replaced it with "cripple."
  • Kids these days. No wonder Margaret Draper retired.
  • The weird thing is, Julian is standing in front of the word with an eraser in his hand. What's he doing there?
  • We've only known Julian for about three pages, but we're already going to bet that he's not the one who wrote "cripple."
  • Actually, we've got a pretty good idea who wrote it. His name starts with "H" and ends with "amilton Knapp."
  • Ham gives himself away by siccing a gang of bullies on Julian—writing on his bookbag, trying to trip him, making fun of him, and just generally being budding sociopaths.
  • Julian ignores the bullying and is just generally awesome.
  • On Saturdays, Ethan helps his mom sell produce at the Farmers' Market. Everyone expects that he's going to take over the family business, but Ethan has a different plan. An awesome plan. He's going to be a designer on Broadway.
  • Sure, sounds great! In the meantime, there are pumpkins to sell.
  • One day, Julian and his dad buy pumpkins from Ethan. Four identical pumpkins.
  • On the $10 bill Julian hands over, Ethan finds a Post-it. The Post-it says, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Chapter VII Title."
  • Oooh, we love mysteries over here at Shmoop!
  • Ethan figures out that Julian has sent him on a treasure hunt. He finds the book in the living room and locates the chapter title: "A Mad Tea Party."
  • The next clue shows up on the bus the next morning. Julian manages to slip a note under the strap of his backpack: "Tea Time is always 4.00 PM."
  • The note also points him to the next clue: an atlas, where Ethan finds the address. It's Sillington House.
  • Okay, the next clue is a little creepier. Somehow, Julian manages to get a little pocket calendar showing the date right into Ethan's shirt pocket. Maybe a little too intimate, Julian?
  • Anyway, Ethan is stoked (probably at least partly because he's figured out that Nadia is coming, too).
  • On the Saturday of the tea party, he makes his mom stop by the mall after the Farmers' Market so he can buy a gift.
  • He figures that Julian would like a puzzle, but the only puzzle left at the game store is a pink heart. Not exactly the kind of present you give to some sneaky kid you hardly know.
  • Still, Ethan buys it anyway. Secure in his masculinity, this one is.
  • He gets all dolled up in a flannel shirt, bow tie, and sweater and heads off to Sillington House.
  • Nadia is there, and she's brought a present of her own: one of her dog's puppies. Surprise, surprise: Noah is the third guest.
  • They all sit around awkwardly drinking tea for a while, until Ethan gets the conversation rolling with a joke. And then another one. Our Ethan is full of surprises!
  • Time to open presents. Noah's brought a calligraphy set, which everyone gets way more excited about than we expected.
  • Everyone also gets super excited about the heart puzzle. They all put it together, and Julian, who apparently can perform some pretty sweet magic, does some trickery before producing the final piece.
  • This, Shmoopers, is called a "Symbol." Go check it out.
  • The tea party is a success. The friends—who decide to call themselves The Souls—decide to meet every Saturday. One of these Saturdays, they all share a story about a day they'd like to live over.
  • Nadia's day? Saving the turtle from the storm.
  • Noah's day? Almost ruining and then saving the wedding.
  • Julian's day? His magician mentor telling him that he was good at magic.
  • And Ethan's day? The very first tea party.
  • Aww. Even our cold hearts are warming.

The View from Saturday Ethan Explains the B and B Inn Study Group

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