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

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

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!

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).

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).

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".

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.

Ms. Foley

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

Theresa ♫

I closed this book,I sat there, mouth open, just . . . . just thinking.Dude.WHAT A BOOK.I mean yeah it took me a little bit to finish but OH MY GOODNESS! OH MY GOODNESS! This is the dream book of mine to read in class--I mean why couldn't we read THIS in 8th grade instead of Lord of the Flies?!Both are about boys (well Hatchet is about A BOY)stranded on an island after a plane crash.BOTH includes the wilderness!But here's the difference: Lord of the Flies--chock full of symbolic nonsense and not exactly teaching us a real lesson (well actually, it taught about logic in a society and...other things I let myself forget because I SERIOUSLY HATED LORD OF THE FLIES, but really this book did not impact me...)Whereas Hatchet . . . HATCHET actually taught about a boy LEARNING HOW TO SURVIVE instead of a bunch of boys trying to kill each other or...or take over one another--JEEZ Lord of the Flies was so . . . forgettable. (*Sorry, sorry, I'm not here to rant about Lord of the Flies, I'm here for this beautiful . . . HATCHET.)1. The words.The words. They were beautiful.Beautiful descriptions. Beautiful words used.Beautiful emotions and feelings and--dude I could see Brian trying to hunt his fish and his birds and his food--and trying to build a shelter--and TRYING TO SURVIVE!I felt Brian's emotions. It wasn't even in first person, but I FELT THEM.I FELT HIS FRUSTRATION. I felt his sadness and loss of hope, I FELT HIS DETERMINATION TO LIVE, I. Felt. It.And THAT, my fellow review readers, is what makes a book rememberable.2. Okay, maybe we won't all get stranded on an island in our life time.But you have to admit, this was a lesson that should be taught in school.Math? Calculus?English? Lord of the Flies?HOW ABOUT WE LEARN HOW TO SURVIVE IF WE WERE EVER TRAPPED IN THE WILDERNESS?!What about we learn about how to explore a land and have adventures if we do get stranded?WHAT ABOUT WE LEARN THESE THINGS--even if we're not going to get freaking stranded on an island--TO JUST EXPERIENCE ADVENTURE IN A CLASSROOM?!This is what we should know about!Maybe we learn a sliver of it in world history or US history or biology or whatever, but seriously!How did our ancestors hunt and grow food, and find water and shelter?What can we do if we were in an emergency like this?WHAT CAN WE DO?!This book has probably opened people's minds to the possibility of getting stranded on an island.It's an adventure about a boy getting stranded and what he plans to do to fix things.3. Dude, what amazes me is how much this book impacted me when there was hardly any dialogue between person-to-person in this book.How minus all the extra information from the author and pictures, this book is way shorter, but it still hit me.This author . . . this dude . . . he probably went on some adventures in life!He LIVED! Lived not in a city where everything is already on a silver platter but he LIVED, working for food for himself and working his butt off just to survive.He was thrown back into the stone age! I've never had to think about this stuff before but this book really brings it to my head. It woke me up to the fact that our way of living is so easy . . .But if we really were humans and we lived along with all the other animals on this world, no way is it easy. NO WAY is it easy.So Gary Paulsen not only weaves a story for Brian to change Brian's life, but he changes our lives too.Because seriously . . . I've never thought about what I'd do if I got stranded in a place in the middle of nowhere.YOU KNOW WHAT, lately I've found so many 5-star books . . . I feel like I haven't ranted about a 1 star book in forever . . .(*sigh)

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!

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.

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... :-)

Marshall Jones

Brian is on a journey across the Canadian forest, on a flight to visit his father. As Brian is on his way to the airport his mom had gave him a pocket hatchet for his trip. On the flight the pilot of the two seat plane started to feel a bit strange and having pains and letting off choking body odors. He was having a heart attack. The pilot had past out and Brian has to take over and steer the plane safley to the ground but insted he safley crashed the plane in the Canadian wilderness. He is now alone. He has nobody.From this point it is just a survival game for Brian, hunting for food and chopping trees for shelter and salvaging any materials from the the crashed plane to stay alive. Brian soon then encounters a big black bear but lucky for Brian he does not go near him. After weeks of staying alive in the wildness alone he manages to get rescued my a search party sent my his father.Hes alive.I really enjoyed reading this book it was very excited and interesting.i would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys ready very realistic books.

Nathan Simpson

The Story sets off in a single engine plane, Brian Robenson the main character sitting in the cockpit beside a pilot that he does not know the name to. Brian is hurting down ddep inside when the story flashbacks to a memory when he saw his mother with another guy at the mall, there is more to the story but that is all Brian's recollection to the flashback at that moment. A few weeks later his mother demands for a divorce. Soon he is forced to leave on plane to see his father in Cananada. Right before he boards his plane, his mother, gives him a gift. A hatchet which foreshadows the events to come. He does not know it at the time but that hatchet would count on his survival. Then suddenly the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian then takes control of the plane with the few short lessons he had before the Pilot died, and his failed emmergency contact, he crashes the plane in a lake. There is a sudden feeling that Brian has when he crashes that will determine if he lives or dies. He feels reborn. He feels alive.

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!

Rachel

So when I was in the 7th grade, Mrs. Randall (formerly Sr. Mary Randall, an ex-nun) FORCED this pile of garbage upon me and the rest of my unsuspecting classmates. I was an advanced reader and it was a relatively short, easy to swallow book but it took me FOREVER TO READ IT. because it was THAT FUCKING BORING. It's about this stupid snot of a kid whose parents are getting divorced (mom and dad broke up! boo-hoo :'( i'm scarred for life now!) and somehow his plane goes down in the wilderness of Canada (which I can admit is the scariest fucking thing I can possibly think of. I'd rather be faced with the zombie apocalypse or a gang of mass murdering rapists than being stuck in the middle of Canada) so snot-face has to learn to survive on his own. He has a hatchet that his mom gave him (though I really can't say what possessed her to give her poor no-one-wants-me warning signs of future school shootings son a HATCHET, but she does) and he eventually stops crying and figures out how to pick berries and chop trees. Or saplings. Or something. I don't know. All I know is, this is the worst book EVER. UGH. And Mrs. "Ex-Nun" Randall made us watch the MOVIE, too. it was TORTURE.

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