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Hatchet Paperback – December 26, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When the pilot of a small, two-person plane has a heart attack and dies, Brian has to crash land in the forest of a Canadian wilderness. He has little time to realize how alone he is, because he is so busy just trying to survive. And learning to survive, to plan on food not just for a day but untiland ifhe is rescued, only begins when he stops pitying himself and understands that no one can help him. He is on his own, without his divorced father, whom he was to visit, or his mother, whom Brian saw kissing another man before the divorce. This is a heart-stopping story: it seems that at every moment Brian is forced to face a life-and-death decision, and every page makes readers wonder at the density of descriptive detail Paulsen has expertly woven together. Poetic texture and realistic events are combined to create something beyond adventure, a book that plunges readers into the cleft of the protagonist's experience. Ages 11-13.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8-12 Brian Robeson, 13, is the only passenger on a small plane flying him to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. The plane drifts off course and finally crashes into a small lake. Miraculously Brian is able to swim free of the plane, arriving on a sandy tree-lined shore with only his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present. The novel chronicles in gritty detail Brian's mistakes, setbacks, and small triumphs as, with the help of the hatchet, he manages to survive the 54 days alone in the wilderness. Paulsen effectively shows readers how Brian learns patienceto watch, listen, and think before he actsas he attempts to build a fire, to fish and hunt, and to make his home under a rock overhang safe and comfortable. An epilogue discussing the lasting effects of Brian's stay in the wilderness and his dim chance of survival had winter come upon him before rescue adds credibility to the story. Paulsen tells a fine adventure story, but the sub-plot concerning Brian's preoccupation with his parents' divorce seems a bit forced and detracts from the book. As he did in Dogsong (Bradbury, 1985), Paulsen emphasizes character growth through a careful balancing of specific details of survival with the protagonist's thoughts and emotions. Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416936475
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416936473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,518 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#48 in Books > Teens
#48 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

222 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Costantino on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This story about a young boy stranded in the Canadian wilderness will never lose it's affect on me. Being a child of divorce I can totally empathize with Brian's struggles to cope. And I appreciate Gary Paulsen's comparing that struggle with actual survival. But this book is in no way a sermon on how to deal with divorce. It's about learning to co-exist, and to overcome any obstacles. The descriptions of how Brian went about ensuring his survival, only with the use of his hatchet (hence the title) were awe inspiring when a pre-teen and the book still retains a sentimental hold over my heart as an adult. the encounters with wildlife range from comical to downright horrifying. Hatchet made me appreciate the things I had and also allowed me to realize that I shouldn't seek too hard the things I desired to have but didn't. Overall this is a great book to give your 10-13 year old, a book about respect for nature, appreciation for life, and above all understanding that you can make it through the toughtest of situations as long as you have the right tools and are willing to learn how to use them.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Are you tired of reading boring books? Then you should definitely read Hatchet, a book by Gary Paulsen! This book is about a 13 year old boy named Brian Robeson who goes to visit his father after his parents get divorced. On the way there, the pilot suffers a major heart attack and the plane crashes, but Brian makes it out alive. He has to survive alone by making fire, cooking fish, and hunting meat until a rescue plane finds him. Will Brian be rescued? What I like about this book is how Brian never gives up and always tries his hardest. Brian works hard no matter

what happens and I like that attitude. This book is well suited for kids who like survival novels. The best age for the reader is ages 9 or older because not all the words are easy to read. The genre for this book is Realistic Fiction because this could actually happen. You should definitely read this book!
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60 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine being stranded in the wilderness alone and learning to survive. We all think about it at least once in our life, learning to hunt, getting shelter, and staying sane. In the book, Hatchet, Brian Robeson, age thirteen, is stranded in the Canadian wilderness, after his plane crashes, with only a hatchet and the clothes on his back. Brian was on that plane to his dad's house because of the Secret... This survival-fiction book tells how Brian undergoes a complete character change. When he first arrives he is relatively weak, but eventually Brian has keen, alert, senses, and he is a stronger person. In the book, Brian must deal with insane moose, and making a new friend; fire. Hunting and food gathering is a major part of the book, which makes it seem very realistic, but will Brian ever make it home alive? This book is a Newbery honor book and I believe it is very deserving of that prestigous award. Gary Paulsen's portrayal of someone in that predicament is very accurate. He puts you right in the action and in the struggle. I recommend this book to people of all different ages and backgrounds. You will feel every moment of hope and rejection in this amazing Paulsen novel.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brian Robeson is thirteen and is on a survival mission in the Canadian wilderness. His plane crashed because his pilot had a heart attack and died. Brian then then found himself having to fly the plane all by himself. Brian decides to land in a near by lake. When Brian survives the crash he finds himself with only a twenty-dollar bill,a windbreaker, and his new hatchet his mother had given him. The lake in which he crashed in provided him drinking water, a bath tub and food. Brian learns to scavenge for berries and catch fish. He made a spear out of a long narrow stick. He speared fish, rabbits and foolbirds. Brian was not successful at this in the beginning. Brian learns to survive in the willderness with little or nothing at all. I reccommend this book to anyone who likes the outdoors or wo li kes a great adventure. This is a great book for anyone who wants to read and have fun. You do not only read the book but you learn in the process as well. You learn how to survive in the wilderness with limited supplies.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Julia Shpak on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Thirteen year old Brian is on his way to visit his father when the pilot of a small, two-person plane has a heart attack and dies. Brian crashes the airplane into a small lake in the middle of a Canadian wilderness. Sore and shocked from the crash, the boy finds himself on a sandy tree-lined shore with only his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the belt-attached hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

At first, Brian hopes to be rescued in a couple of days, but later he realizes that his life depends only on him - the rescue is not near, since the plane drifted off course significantly soon after the pilot died. Now Brian has to learn how to survive, to toughen up, and to let go of self-pity: "...he learned the most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn't work."

Gary Paulsen effectively describes how Brian learns to watch, listen, and think before he acts, learning to co-exist, and to overcome any obstacles. The reader sees Brian's mistakes, setbacks, and small triumphs as, with the help of the hatchet, he manages to survive the 54 days alone in the wilderness - he attempts to build a fire, to fish and hunt, and to make his home under a rock overhang safe and comfortable.

An epilogue of the book describes the lasting effects of Brian's stay in the wilderness -
his character have changed from the "city boy" mentality to enlightened and being as one with nature. "None of that used to be Brian and now that was a part of him, a changed part of him, a grown part of him, and the two things, his mind, and his body, had come together as well, had made a connection with each other that he didn't quite understand.
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