Hatchet: With Related Readings

ISBN: 0821929607
ISBN 13: 9780821929605
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

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.

Josh Fugate

The noval Hatchet is one of my favorite books of all time. This is a fictional adventure book. It is about a boy named Brian Robeson. After finding out about the divorce of his parents, he is emotionaly damaged. On his way to the airport, to visit his father, Brians mother gives him a gift. The gift was a hatchet, a very well crafted hatchet. On the plane to his father's house he experiences the fear of all. Brian and the piolet are the only ones on the plane. The piolet has a heart attack and they crash into a lake. Now it's all about survival. Brian saves himself from the sinking boat and pulls himself to land. This is were now he must hunt, build, and plan for survival. This was an amazingly successful noval. I knew from the start that I was going to love this book. What worked for me was the author had me wondering how Brian was going to survive alone, and stay emotionally stable. I thought that it was cool how he built a place to live and stay secure. I also wondered how he made hunting supplies and caught fish, and killed animals so he could eat. What didn't work for me was when he found out about his parents divorce and kept repeating the words, "The Secret" and everyone knew that the secret was the divorse. The theme of this noval was survival, that's all Brian wanted, was to survive. The point of view for Hatchet is third person, Brian is telling the story. The mood of this noval is the want to live, and a hopeful mood.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

Evan

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen was an amazing novel. Brian, a teenager who had no idea of what he was doing had to survive in the forest by himself without anything except for a hatchet and clothes! I did not enjoy that at the end of the book, Brian finally decides to go into the plane! He found, a survival kit with tools, food, and sleeping bags! Why did he not go into the plane in the first place?The theme of the book was very easy to figure out, never give up. Brian did not stop during his whole "journey" in the forest. He just kept on going and thinking positive. He was very close to giving up when he had failed to get food and when he ate the gut berries. In conclusion, Hatchet had few flaws, but was a great novel!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Khang ... Tran

In this amazing book hatchet, Brian is on a journey to his dads house. But first he has to go across the Canadian forest by plane. It was in the summer when Brian got a chance to visit his father, little did he know, the pilot had a heart attack during the flight. Brian was in shock when the pilot died right in front of him. Was this the last moment of Brian's life? This book is so good, its a thrill to read.I recommend this book to you young up and coming readers.This is a realistic fiction book.

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... :-)

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