Hatchet (Brian’s Saga, #1)

ISBN: 0689840926
ISBN 13: 9780689840920
By: Gary Paulsen

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Genres

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

About this book

Since it was first published in 1987, the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson's survival following a plane crash has become a modern classic. Stranded in the desolate wilderness, Brian uses his instincts and his hatchet to stay alive for fifty-four harrowing days. This twentieth-anniversary edition of Hatchet contains a new introduction and sidebar commentary by Gary Paulsen, written especially for this volume. Drew Willis's detailed pen-and-ink illustrations complement the descriptions in the text and add a new dimension to the book. This handsome edition of the Newbery Honor book will be treasured by Hatchet fans as well as by readers encountering Brian's unforgettable story for the first time.

Reader's Thoughts

David

So when I added this, I vaguely recalled the title, and I swear, I have definitely read it, but what I thought it was about was a boy being stuck under the snow following an avalanche (it turns out the book I was thinking of is apty named Avalanche by Arthur Roth) but anyway, that's not what it is about, and I really don't remember this book at all.Hatchet I definitely read in middle school at the instruction of my librarian (we had a sort of once-weekly class in the library to introduce us to the already anachronistic card catalog, and maybe to encourage us to read). It strikes me now as one of those "boy books" and was sort of offered to me as an alternative to Babysitters' Club or Nancy Drew, maybe. It's strange now, because it undervalues literature very much to say that some is suited to boys, and others to girls (which is to say nothing of our society's pathetic need to classify and categorize). Based on my vague and unreliable memory (and the description gleaned from amazon), here are the reasons why you should have your son, nephew, homeless male orphan read Hatchet:1) It is the story about a boy named Brian. Brian is a great boy name (maybe you've considered it for your tot?), and everything he does (probably) exudes the same brand of outdoorsy masculinity that you want your little Timmy, Tommy or Teddy to adopt as an adolescent and adult.2) It takes place outside. What better way to encourage kids to go outside than to have them sit inside and read a book about a boy who is outside?3) There is a hatchet, presumably. Whether little Johnny has that lumberjack vibe, or that investment banker gone Sarsgaard-murder-house vibe, certainly it will be important to introduce them to the concept of the hatchet. A very useful tool that almost no one uses, as far as I know.4) The plot evidently features a plane crash, wherein Brian must be the lone survivor. Very likely to happen. Also, surely all the characters in this book are male, what better way to introduce your young one to a realistic view of the world than to immerse them in world dominated completely by a young boy and some owls, or something. (also see: Lord of the Flies)5. This 20th anniversary edition features a great commentary by the author, Gary Paulson. Even though your little brat probably won't read this (why would he?), it will give his ego the small boost for the illusion of having read a book a little longer than he actually did).6. This is the first installation of a SAGA. For one, "saga" is reminiscent to me of the Nordic mythos, which seems to be the most supporting of the idealized male image. It also means there are multiple volumes following our intrepid Brian. What more could you want? Why invest in Boy Scouts when you could drop a pile of Brian books in your kid's lap and turn him into a man, while saving all that time and money?Get it! So good!

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.

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.

Max Stone

(fwiw this is a book I read my kids aged 6-10)I'd give this book 3.5 stars if I could. Basically the stuff which makes it a classic and is indeed very good is the adventure/survival stuff (he is the sole survivor of a plane crash deep in the woods and has nothing but a hatchet). Both the details of what he is doing to survive, and the psychological changes he goes through in his attempt to survive are believable, interesting, and illuminating.There is a second thread in the book which is him processing his parents' divorce and in particular "the secret" which is that even before the divorce he saw his mother kissing some other guy. I wanted to retch every time this stuff came up. I found it much less believable and also generally an intrusion into the main story. I tried to think of some deep connection between the divorce / "the secret" and his survival which enabled readers to make connections and learn things about one or the other that they otherwise would not have been able to, but I really couldn't. Survival part gets 4.5 stars; his relationship with his parents gets 1.5 stars (my overall is 3.5 because the survival stuff is dominant).

Becky

I.love.this.book.Seriously, I read this maybe in fourth grade? It was definitly in elementary school, because I remember it was at the same time that we we doing "survival skills"* in Girl Scouts. Not that I ever wanted to be trapped by myself in the wilderness, but I spent a lot of my time in my backyard pretending to find flint with my sister, and starting imaginary fires to keep warm. In winter we dug ourselves igloos. I always went camping with my parents, so this book started a lot of Q&A's with them about what to do if I get lost in the woods (Hint, No. 1 is STAY WHERE YOU ARE!). Any ways, its a great read for an elementary kid, and everyone should read it.* This was put in quotation marks because it was a total joke. I had been looking forward to these skills for quite some time, finally girl scouts was going to teach me what I wanted! Instead of knives they handed us popsicle sticks. For the love of God CUB SCOUTS get real knives. This was followed shortly on the heels of an outdoor cooking class where none of us were allowed near the fire. Basically we made banana boats, and then the instructor put the boats in and out of the coals for us. We learned how to build a fire with coals, not tinder. Agh. It was at this point that I decided Girl Scouts was NOT for me.

Ms. Foley

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

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.

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.

John

When Brian's plane crash lands in the Canadian wilderness, Brian must learn to survive in the forest all by himself with only his clothes and a hatchet given to him by his mum...I wouldn't say this was the best book I've read but I wouldn't say it was one of the worst. This book gives you that feel that 'you're all alone in an unknown place with who knows what kind of dangers there may be'. And yes, it did make me a little scared. But despite the rather, in my opinion, boring ending of the book, it is nonetheless still a good book.

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!

Sara

** spoiler alert ** My step-brother Steven, who isn't much of a reader, told me this was his favorite book of all time, and the only one he read more than once. Every time I see him, he asks if I have read it yet. So Steven, this is for you.This book is about a boy who learns perspective the hard way, by surviving on his own in the Canadian wilderness after the pilot of the small plane he was on has a heart attack. While the boy Brian is the only major character in the book, common literary roles are filled in interesting ways. The villains are despair and "The Secret" (his discovery of his mothers affair which was the cause of his parents divorce). The first he overcomes, the second becomes unimportant. The Hatchet I think, may be my favorite character. Its roles as sidekick and mentor are well established as Brian depends on it for his survival. I look forward to the literary discussion I will have with my step-brother, and maybe he will even become interested in reading again. I can always hope... :-)

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

Melissa Wehunt

I probably should have read this years ago, but it is (literally) checked out whenever I go to find myself a copy. I finally got my eaudiobook...I was so excited...afterall, teachers assign this book ALL THE TIME! And kids/teens seem to love it. So... my expectations may have been a tad high. With that in mind, here are my pros/cons:Pros-1. Survival Story...that's always fun and interesting2. Would make a great (and easy) discussion book...which is probably why teachers love it3. Book that works for boys Cons-1. The stuff about divorce and his cheating mother. I don't know, it bugged me. I get why it's in there...that Brian needs to work through it and think before he acts and all the super obvious lessons that Paulsen beats over our heads...but it felt obvious and out of place to me. I would have like it more if it had been worked into the story better...like maybe revealing the 'secret' as he was dealing with survival. 2. The things that make it a good discussion book...All the obvious lessons! This isn't really fair to complain about. It's not Paulsen's fault I'm a full grown adult reading a kids book. But I am, and I found it tiresome and a bit eye-rolly. Is that a word? ;) 3. The reader. Couldn't stand him. And the quality of the recording was weird. So, about 2/3 of the way through (I had a copy sitting at the ref desk waiting for a teen to pick it up), I read the rest of it. Much better.

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.

Shruti S

HATCHET by Gary Paulsen Brain doesn't think his life will ever be the same after his parents get divorced but his life is about to take an even bigger twist as the plain he is on crashes into Canadian wilderness. alone in the wild, stranded on a piece of jutting out land Brain will try his hardest to survive. Throughout the book I admired his constant positive attitude even when he felt like giving up because without it he would have been dead. It was amazing to read about the number of ways Brain used his hatchet or how a hatchet can be used. Brian used the tool to create fire, to make more tools, and use it for hunting. When Brain tried to hunt fish, he would fail and have to try again and tweak or adapt his tool or his approach before he could get a meal. This made me think about how we must have evolved from millions of years ago. The caveman had to apply the same process of making mistakes and learning from them, trying new things to get a meal. We now have our meals prepared and available in ready-to-eat packets in our modern world. the interesting thing about the book was that even though it did not put me at the edge of my seat I could not put the book down. If you liked "Escape under the forever sky" you very lightly will like "Hatchet".

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