Hatchet

ISBN: 059098182X
ISBN 13: 9780590981828
By: Gary Paulsen

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Genres

Adventure Childrens Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Survival To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths: Self-pity doesn't work. Despair doesn't work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

Reader's Thoughts

Nichole Sedler

Written by Gary Paulsen, published by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 1987.Summary: A story about a young boy whose family is torn apart by divorce. He travels on a prop plane to see his dad in Canada but during the flight, the pilot suffers a heart attack and dies. Brian crashes the plane into a lake and amazingly survives the crash. The novel follows his transformation through surviving 54 days in the wilderness before he is rescued. Response: I loved this story. I think intermediate elementary students would be captured by the realistic, dramatic turn of events and by the unlikely hero of Brian. Possible Units: I think this would be a great book for Lit Circles or even to read as a class. There is so much you could do with this book. Language Arts, Character Education, Cause and Effect lessons, etc.

Jeane

Paulsen, Gary (1987). Hatchet. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. 186 pages.Summary and Evaluation: One summer day thirteen year-old Brian Robeson sets off on a journey to visit his father in northern Canada. Not long into the flight the unthinkable happens -- the plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness and Brian, the lone survivor, is faced with having to survive on his own with only one possession, a hatchet. Through this ordeal Brian learns important life skills including patience, thoughtfulness, courage, and "tough hope". It also becomes a time for him to reflect on and work through the "secret" that has destroyed his family.As I read this novel, I imagined living the same experiences right alongside Brian. I found myself trying to figure out how I would solve the problems Brian encounters -- the need for food, shelter, warmth, and protection. Needless to say, I probably wouldn't have made it past the first few days. The action in Hatchet is fast-paced with a new crisis around each turn, easily holding the reader's interest. This is a story that celebrates human ingenuity, determination, and courage in the face of conflict and prompts the reader to reflect on how much our society takes for granted. I almost regret saying this because of the gender stereotyping implications, but this is a novel I would recommend to young boys because of it's action and problem-solving elements. But as a member of the opposite sex I also enjoyed this novel because of these same things.Booktalk Hook: Assuming a small group I would start by asking several members of the audience what one item they would want with them if they were stranded without hope of rescue. This would then lead into a discussion about the book including a summary of the plot and a short reading starting with "Stupid, he thought" on pg. 161 through "And he had dropped it" on pg. 162.

Madeline

Friggin' awesome. My 3rd grade teacher read this book aloud to my class, a chapter a day, and I remember being absolutely enthralled every single day. She read it to us right before first recess, so whenever that day's chapter ended with a cliffhanger we had the whole recess to discuss what we thought was going to happen next (and act out our own renditions of the time Brian got attacked by a bear).

Keely

Gary Paulsen writes in only two emotions: fine and vomit-y. Someone may want to tell him that there are other ways to provoke a response in a reader than going right for the gut, so to speak. This book could have done with some fear and suspense, perhaps some gratification, depression, or joy. I do not mind a tragedy, nor do I balk at watching the man beaten down. I am a fan of Chekhov's. If your idea of suspense is mosquito bites on your nipples, meet your Stephen King.

Steve Vernon

A few years ago my stepson Connor asked for a copy of this book for Christmas. I hunted it up in a bookstore and decided to give it a read before wrapping it up. Then I had to go back to the bookstore and by another copy because there was no way I was going to let this one get off my book shelf.Hatchet is my all-time favorite YA novel. I admire the precision and no-words-wasted approach that Paulsen demonstrates with his prose. He cuts right to the bone and steps the action up fast.The story is a simple one. The young protagonist is lost in the north woods with nothing but a hatchet to survive with. It is a good old-fashioned yarn that will entertain and enlighten both young and old alike. I don't have enough thumbs to give this book all of the thumbs up it truly deserves. Hunt up a copy for any kid on your gift-buying list and make sure you buy a copy for yourself.Yours in storytelling,Steve Vernon

Lauren Ciccarelli

When my fourth grade teacher decided to read a chapter a day to my class she always said "let's see what Hatchet's up to" & we'd all crowd around to see if he'd been poisoned by berries or hacked his body parts off for nourishment.First off, the kid's name isn't Hatchet, which I still think would have made the book much better. At least it'd have some character, which is lacking in a huge way. The hatchet came from his mother, as a gift, right before his plane went down in the Canadian wilderness. No really, mom didn't plan that..?There's a lot of repetitiveness going on, both in the story & in Paulsen's writing which work against hearing it aloud. Growing up far outside of the wilderness, my preteen angst kicked in & I tuned out most of the book's survivalist techniques thinking I'd never, ever need them.Maybe I would have liked it had I read it myself, but the story & plot are still unappealing enough to keep me from wasting my time.

Eric_W

As many of you might know, I abhor the YA designation, believing it to be a form of segregation that simply makes it a target for the Comstockians of the world, witness recent calls for YA books to be more wholesome and less dark. That many so-called YA titles deal with issues that should be of concern to teens seems of little concern to those who want to prevent their sixteen-year-olds from reading about what they experience everyday. The YA designation, I suspect, has, in the past, steered many adult readers away from books so designated, not wanting to be seen as stooping below their level. (I use young adult and adult only in their chronological sense, certainly not from the standpoint of maturity level.)Our reading club decided to discuss a couple of books that had been enjoyed by some of our members from that standpoint. We chose two: Hatchet and Waiting to Forget (review to follow), each in its own way a survival novel, both in a wilderness, but one made of trees, the other of people. The differences are substantial with Waiting to Forget much more adult both in content and style. Hatchet is a great story for 10 year-olds (and young 60 year-olds) about a young boy (age thirteen) being sent to his father in Canada following a nasty divorce. The pilot of the single engined plane dies of a heart attack, and young Brian must find a way to stay alive in the wilderness (a remarkably non-hostile environment with the exception of a moose and tornado) with only a hatchet fortuitously given to him by his mother for survival. The book is told in third-person from Brian’s perspective so it’s hardly a spoiler to say young Brian, a very smart kid, indeed, survives by using his wits and, fortuitously, the hatchet given to him by his mother as a present before he left to visit his father.It's a good survival story although some of the elements like "the Secret" were peripheral and distracted from the story line. The Epilogue was totally unnecessary and redundant, I thought. The last line before it would have made a perfect ending. My understanding is that Paulson followed up with the success of Hatchet with a couple of sequels.As I read this enjoyable little book, I wondered if Paulson had become enamored of Tom Brown who achieved some fame as being a great “tracker” and wilderness expert. Raised in the Jersey Pine Barrens, he was ostensibly the grandson of an Apache named “Stalking Wolf.”(I'm not kidding.) Brown wrote several pieces on wilderness survival for Mother Jones in the eighties. I remember several nature types on the faculty asking me to order his books many years ago, although the luster seemed to tarnish some when it was learned Brown was fond of smoking.Looking up Tom Brown for this review I discovered he has capitalized on his knowledge. http://www.trackertrail.com/tombrown/...Tom Brown books: Tom Brown's Field guide to wilderness survival and Tracker and Tom Brown's Field Guide To Living With The Earth

Zach Costello

I enjoyed the book “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. In this book, a thirteen year old boy named Brian took a plane to go to his father’s house in the Canadian wilderness. His parents were going through a divorce, because his mother had an affair. The pilot had a quick heart attack and he died. From there Brian crashed the plane into a lake, and had to learn to survive. The main characters in this story were Brian and the pilot. Brian was going on the plane to visit his father. Brian was also only thirteen years old and was injured from the plane fall. The pilot had a heart attack and died. This story was told in first story. This story takes place in the present times in New York and Canadian wilderness. When Brian gets in the plane crash he spends the rest of the story wondering in the wilderness. The theme was survival, because Brian had to learn to survive, when the plane crashed. Brian was injured and he didn’t have a lot of food to survive on. He also had to teach himself how to make a shelter and to hunt. I would recommend this book to middle school and high school students, because this book was an easy read. I really enjoyed this book and it is my favorite book.

Henry

My first foray into childhood favorites for one unlikely-to-succeed purpose: converting my brother from books about Harry Potter to books about anything else, in the world. Any suggestions?When I first read Hatchet, at around ten or twelve, I devoured it time and time again. The idea of learning wilderness survival with nothing but a hatchet and my own wits prickled the pores of my baby-smooth chest with visions of man-hair, tufts and tufts of it, more than I knew what to do with, for after finishing a book about a boy-turned-man's hard-earned survival in the rugged wilderness surely I myself would become a man (I confess to having the same thought at least once when re-reading it at twenty-seven). The book itself holds up as a taut, economically told story, no real flourishes to speak of, and yet when my brother read the first chapter, he woke me up to tell me it was weird. I tried to tease him with upcoming action beat - "there's a plane crash in the next chapter," I told him, at which point he went downstairs to play Super Mario Galaxy.

Lily

If I could rate it 0 stars I would the only reason I'm reading it is cuz I hav 2 4 school its basically just the same thing every chap he wakes up he finds food he gets discoraged he runs into an animal of some kind the 1st 2 chaps aren't but all the others @ least up 2 15 r like I just described. It was all 2 boring 4 me & I'm never reading the sequel or anything by this author as a matter of fact. Anyway, I would never recommend this book to anyone!!! If you're thinking of reading Hatchet, don't! Instead u should read these.1. Slob by Ellen Potter2.Tango: Tale of an Island Dog by Eileen Beha3. Belly Up by Stewart Gibbs OR even better than any of those listed above... THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY BY SUZANNE COLLINSLilyUPDATE: I still barf in my mouth a little when I think about this!

Ms. Foley

I love outdoor survival stories! If you liked this, you should try "Julie of the Wolves" or "Island of the Blue Dolphins."

Lucy

For the last few months, I have been going into my son's classroom and reading with a small group for an hour. This is exactly my kind of volunteering. We each take turns reading aloud and when the hour is up, we mark our place for the next week.Our group, which contained five boys and myself, read The Hatchet, a book about 13 year-old Brian Robeson, who survives in the Canadian wilderness for months after the airplane he was traveling in to visit his father crashes - in large part because he has in his possession a hatchet given to him by his mother.I was very impressed with those 8 and 9 year-old attention spans because, after the initial crash, which is quite exciting, the book moves at a snails pace. There are lots and lots of details about Brian building a shelter and the process in which he finds food (from berries, eggs, fish to finally game meat) and Brian's own inner dialogue about what his fate will be. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the author, Gary Paulsen, uses a technique of repeating emphasis words regularly throughout paragraphs that the boys were able to pick up as a unique to that author writing style. It was so fun to discuss those kinds of things with these bright boys. Paulsen also included plenty of vomiting, diarrhea, animal attacks and other bits of danger to completely hook his young readers.I admit to being a tad worried about the theme of divorce and The Secret (which turned out to be that Brian saw his mother kissing another man in a car), but was relieved to discover that it wasn't the emphasis of the book and even my sheltered and innocent son seemed able to handle these mature ideas.I'm not as sure girls of the same age would like it, but The Hatchet was a hit with my 8 year old. Plus, mom liked it too.

Matt Tyler

What boy has never dreamed of surviving out in the wilderness on his own? As a kid, I daydreamed about "roughing it" on my own with no food or tools. Many of those daydreams were sparked by Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, which was one of my all time favorite books as a kid. Hatchet is one book from my childhood that has always stuck with me. Perhaps it was because I found Brian so easy to relate to. Like Brian, my own parents divorced when I was young, which is something that always seems to creep into your mind when you least expect it. Or maybe it was because 13 year old Brian's frightening adventure as a lone survivor of a plane crash was so thrilling to a boy like me who loved everything about the outdoors. Either way, reading it 15+ years later was a blast. I found this book in a used book store and knew I had to buy it as soon as I found it. It did not disappoint! I thoroughly enjoyed reliving the adventure with Brian. I was amazed, also, of the subtle "life lessons" that Paulsen weaves into the story. Reading this book again makes me want to track down some of the other books that were important to me as a kid. Thanks to Goodreads "Readers Also Enjoyed" section, I was able to find a few of those. I hope to read some of them again over the next year.I recommend this to every young reader, especially boys. I look forward, Lord willing, to reading this to my own son one day.

Daniel Lowder

What I learned from Hatchet:1. If you see a man grimacing in pain, it could be a heart attack. If this man is the pilot of a charter prop plane that you're flying alone in, you could be fucked.2. If you eat mysterious berries, they just might give you severe diarrhea. And, having just been marooned in a plane crash, you could lack the proper facilities to expel the diarrhea within. So, you could end up shitting your brains out in a cave. Since the tender age of 9, when I glanced upon the pages of this book, I have had a fear in regards to shitting in the wild. Fuck you, Gary Paulsen.

Matt Hewelt

** spoiler alert ** This was a book about a boy named Brian who is going to visit his father in Canada. On the way, he is co-piloting a small plane in which he is learning the ropes of flying. As soon as everything seems content and quiet, the pilot of the plane has a heart attack. Now, Brian lands the plane and has to survive with the only thing he has, a hatchet that his mother gave to him. Brian spends about a month and a half having adventures alone in the wilderness until he is finally rescued. There are a few sequels to this book that I really reccomend you checking out.The genre of this book is and adventure fiction with sparce moments of suspense and action. The language in this book was at a lower reading level, but it didn't take away from the effectiveness of description the author used. Brian was a dynamic character because he changed alot throughout the story and had to adapt to the circumstances presented before him. The theme of this book is don't underestimate yourself, because you never know what you can accomplish without trying. Brian had to try many new things he wasn't used to doing in this book, but he adapted sucessfully. The type of person that would enjoy this book is someone who enjoys fiction books about survival/wilderness. This book would also be good for someone who likes to learn about others experiences and struggles.

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