Tuesday, March 22, 2011


HatchetHatchet by Gary Paulsen

AR Reading Level: 5.7
On the library stacks: Juvenile/YA Fiction
Awards: Newbery Honor; ALA Notable/Best Books; SLJ Best Book; State Award; Margaret A. Edwards Award
Series: Book 1 of 5 (Brian's Saga)
Recommended for: Ages 10+

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hatchet is a survival story about a boy who spends 55 days alone in the Canadian wilderness after his single-engine plane crashes. Brian was on his way to spend the summer with his father after his parents' recent divorce when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. After Brian crash-lands the plane, he learns how to keep himself fed, protected, and warm with nothing but the hatchet his mother gave him before he left on his trip.

At it's heart, Hatchet is a coming-of-age story. Brian realizes how quickly life can be reduced to using basic human instincts and how relying on those will keep him safe. Before his trip Brian feels burdened by the cause of his parents' breakup, known to him as the Secret. But Brian realizes that his experiences have changed him and he views the world a little differently after his ordeal.

This is my third Paulsen book and I have to say that I prefer his humor to this more dramatic and serious side. This book is required reading for my 5th grader, and I think that kids will be captivated by this story, imagining if they were in Brian's situation themselves. I decided to read along since I find in the middle grades a lot of books contain start to contain "issues" (in this book it's adultery and divorce) and I want to make sure that as a parent I'm addressing those issues with my kids appropriately.

Also reviewed by: At Home With Books ~ The Movieholic and Bibliophile's Blog ~ Good Clean Reads ~ 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews ~ Your link here?

Source: Purchased


bermudaonion said...

I've heard a lot about this book but have somehow never read it. Now I'm wondering if my son has.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This is one of 12 year old son's favorite books. He's read everything by Paulsen. I really liked it too. I try and read the books my children need to read and this one is great for prompting discussions. 2 Kids and Tired Books