Book Reviews of Hatchet

Hatchet
Hatchet
Author: Gary Paulsen, Neil Waldman
ISBN-13: 9780689826993
ISBN-10: 0689826990
Publication Date: 7/1/1999
Pages: 289
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 90

3.9 stars, based on 90 ratings
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

43 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Hatchet on
Helpful Score: 4
Though the book is a dramatic read, I would not recommend it for readers that are younger or less mature, or those experiencing family srife because of the ideological setting. As with anything I think you should read it yourself before you decide if it is good for your child or not.
Availale on wikipedia: "the boy is stranded and the bittersweet memory of his mother, who Brian has discovered was cheating on his father...Finally, after reaching his father, he is no closer to being able to tell him about the mother's affair than at the novel's beginning." Though the boy's learning survival skills is empowering to him, it does noting to help him survive the emotional wilderness created by his selfish parents.
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Helpful Score: 4
Sitting next to the pilot in a single-engine plane headed for the Canadian wilderness, where he will visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is haunted by his thoughts of that divorce and his knowledge of the Secret that caused it. When the plane crashes, Brian is the sole survivor. Left with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet his mother gave him as a parting gift, Brian must face the devastating truth: "Right now I'm all I've got. I have to do something." He must learn to survive.
reviewed Hatchet on + 213 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I didn't read this children's classice till I was about 25 and I loved it anyway. This is a multiple award winner, and the classic tale of survival in the wilderness, and discovery of oneself, deserved all awards given.
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Helpful Score: 3
Had to read for Children's Literature Course; Great for middle school student! Story is about a child who has to survive on his own after his plane goes down... very compelling ... about coming of age. Great read!
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Helpful Score: 3
My daughter had to read this for school. She was frustrated and expected it to be a "boy" book. Well, it was BUT she LOVED it. It is very well written and has plenty of adventure!
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Helpful Score: 2
I listened to this book as an audio book a few years ago (I'm an adult) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's about a young boy who is stranded in the wilderness after the plane he was flying in crashed and the pilot died. He is left completely alone with only his wits and a small hatchet. I found it exciting and well written (it's probably for 5th through 8th grade level). Both children and adults will enjoy this book.
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Helpful Score: 2
My 10 year old son has read this book repeatedly over the last year, even though he usually does not read very often. I was first introduced to this book when it was required reading for my daughter. I decided to read the book as well and absolutely loved it. The story is very believable and completely draws you in. The descriptions make you feel like you are there. It's very interesting to see how Brian learns to survive.
I also highly recommend the sequel, Brian's Winter. However, I did not enjoy the rest of the books in the series. Once Brian has learned to live in the wilderness, I find that the books no longer hold my interest.
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Helpful Score: 1
Gary Paulson is an extremely popular writer of young adult novels. In this one he outdoes himself with his heartpounding happenings that will catch the reader and hold him or her until the end, which by the way is a happy one. Girls and boys alike will love this book. It's purely adventure, thrills, and emotions, as Brian, a super smart kid, uses his wits and knowledge to keep himself alive until help arrives.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a Newberry Honor Book about a young man who survives a plane crash landing in the wildnerness and has to learn to survive on his own. Well written.
reviewed Hatchet on
Very quick read - suitable for younger readers.
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Enjoyed this book. My son was reading it for his class. A quick easy read. My son is in the fourth grade and this book is age appropriate. Shortly before I read Stranded by Jeff Probst. Stranded may be better for lower grade levels. My son and I are both interested in reading more by this author.
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i love this book!! gary paulsen brings the story of brain alive!! its a great book!
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First Line: Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below.

Thirteen-year-old Brian's parents have just gotten divorced. Brian lives with his mother in New York State, and is allowed to stay with his father, who works in the Canadian oil fields, during the summer. This will be his first summer with his father, and Brian's mother sees him off at the airport, giving him a gift that he feels is a bit silly: a hatchet.

Flying in the small plane takes some getting used to; it's very noisy, it's cramped, and at first the pilot doesn't talk very much. After a while, the pilot does begin to talk with Brian and even lets him take control of the plane for a bit. Then the absolute worst possible scenario occurs: the pilot has a massive heart attack and dies, leaving Brian at the controls of an aircraft that he really doesn't know how to fly.

Brian survives the crash, and then realizes that the plane has flown so far off course that he probably won't be found any time soon. He now has to survive the Canadian wilderness. He's a kid, and he does wallow in self-pity, but not for long. Brian isn't a typical soft city kid. Somehow he's able to put together bits and pieces of things he's learned in school, and he's able to carve out a place for himself on the shore of a remote lake. He takes pride in each accomplishment, as well he should. But the longer he lived in his lakeside home, the more nervous I got. Summers don't last all that long in Canada.

This was a captivating read, and I can understand why it was a Newbery Honor Book in 1988. Paulsen had me on the shore of that lake right at Brian's side. I was slapping mosquitoes and taking pride in Brian's level-headedness and ability to survive. If you're looking for a quick read that's well-written and puts you right in the middle of the action, Hatchet is an excellent choice.

Gary Paulsen's life is as interesting as the books he's written. In reading about the author, I learned that there are a whole series of books about Brian. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you see reviews for more of Paulsen's work here at Kittling: Books!
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Read this with my daughter and we agreed it seemed more like a 'boy's book' than one for everyone. It was still interesting and we enjoyed the plot and the character. This isn't the kind of survival book we enjoy over all, though. Hatchet was a bit more stark than we liked, and the repetitive writing got on my nerves. It had its dramatic effect at times, but otherwise just made reading a bit of a chore.
For a boy who was used to lots of TV and grocery store food, he adapted mighty well to all the pain and suffering the author threw at him.
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Although I haven't read this book for over 10 years, it is still one of my favorites. It is written so vividly, I still remember the feelings I had when I'd read this book so many times as a kid. It would be a great read for a reader new to novels- not just for boys.
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Plot Summary
Brian is a 13 year old boy, his parents are recently divorced, and he is suppose to spend the summer with his father who has taken a job working in Canada. The pilot of the small two person plane dies mid-flight and Brian must crash land the plane into a forest lake. With just his wits and the hatchet that his mother gave him as a present just for before take off, Brian must learn to survive in the wilderness.


Critical Analysis
Hatchet is a Newbery Honor book, and after reading this book, it is easy to tell why it was chosen as one of the best books of 1988. Paulsen expertly writes an action packed story of survival coupled with vivid descriptions that make it easy for the reader to imagine themselves right alongside Brian. The story had me turning the page to find out what new obstacle mother nature would throw at Brian and how he would adapt to the situation. He must find food, shelter, learn to deal with swarming insects and wild animals. In classic literary style, the many trials Brian faces transforms him from an unsure boy into a more confident, self-sufficient young man. The one weakness of the story line was the treatment of the secret. My feeling is that the secret was included in the story line to show Brians emotional growth throughout the story. However, Brians parents were already divorced and living in different countries so I felt the importance placed on this detail was unwarranted. Overall, I really enjoyed this story of adventure and self discovery.
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a Newbery Honor book,this survival story is a spellbinding.
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This book is a treasure for teens as well as adults; for both female and male. It's an adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
reviewed Hatchet on
An excellent book. My son and I both read it and loved it.
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Well-paced, suspenseful, descriptive, exciting.

Those of us with sons know that there isn't a lot of literature out there geared for boys. I've read several of Paulsen's books with my son, and would recommend many of them.

Hatchet is not merely an adventure book. Brian is an adolescent boy dealing with his parents' recent divorce when he is stranded alone in the Canadian wilderness, to survive on his wits and the hatchet his mother thought an appropriate gift. Although the emphasis is on how he survives, there are moments of reflection that ultimately bring him a sense of acceptance of his parents' frailities and failures.

I'm a 40+ adult woman who enjoyed this book herself, and not just because my preadolescent son liked it.
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Sitting next to the pilot in a single-engine plane headed for the Canadian wilderness, where he will visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is haunted by thoughts of that divorce and his knowledge of the Secret that caused it.

When the plane crashes, Brian is the sole survivor. Left with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet his mother gave him as a parting gift, Brian must face the devastating truth: "Right now I'm all I've got. I have to do something." He must learn to survive.
reviewed Hatchet on + 25 more book reviews
1988 Newbery Honor Book. Book cover says, "Sitting next to the pilot in a single-engine plane headed for the Canadian wilderness, where he will visit his father for the first time since his parent's divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is haunted by thoughts of that divorce and his knoledge of the Secret that caused it. When the plane crashes...
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Middle school students really enjoy this book of action and survival. Brian, on the way to visit his father, is involved in a plane crash. He is the only survivor. Teens really love this book. It is a great read aloud. Yes, teens will listen to books read to them!
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wonderful teens book
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Fascinating Reading for any age!
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an amazing tale of how a boy survives in the wilderness on his own.
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excellent book for middle schooler
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A great book for adults and older children (age 12 and up): if "Hatchet" grips your imagination, put Tom Brown's "Tracker" on your list for fascinating non-fiction reading.
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Amazing book. Just incredible- for a guy or a girl. Also good is Brian's Winter, the hypothetical quasi-sequel.
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1988 Newbery Honor Book: Nail-biting survival story.
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I found the book interesting reading, however, the author didn't research wild animals all that well. There is an error in the book.
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I enjoyed the story of a kid who learned to survive after a plane crash but the author didn't do all their research-a female moose does not have horns. I checked with the state of Maine.
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Sitting next to the pilot in a single-engine plane headed for the Canadian wilderness, where he will visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is haunted by thoughts of that divorce and his knowledge of the Secret that caused it.

When the plane crashes, Brian is the sole survivor.

Left with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet his mother gave him as a parting gift, Brian must face the devaststing truth: "Right now I'm all I've got. I have to do something."
He must learn to survive.
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Great book to read with my 4th graders before I retired from teaching. It really got boys reading who did not read a lot before! Now I hope to share it with my grandson.
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My son had to read this for school, he really enjoyed the story.
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Got it for my grandson
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An error was found near the end of the book-obviously the author did not do research regarding some of the creatures he wrote about. Interesting book regarding a young boy's survival after an airplane crash. Read it and see if YOU can find the error!!
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i think the auther captured the age of the boy in the story and showed the real dangers of the wild.
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Terrific read! A page turner for anyone!
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Great book! More for children though.
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A great adventure book for tween boys.
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Newbery Honor Book
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Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present -- and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parents' divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity or despair -- it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.