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.
Honors and Praise for the English edition of Hatchet:
* A Newbery Honor Book
* An ALA Notable Book
* Booklist Editor’s Choice
* SLJ 100 Books that Shaped the Century
“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 patience to watch, listen, and think before he acts as 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.”
-School Library Journal
“This is a spellbinding account…a winner.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
-Booklist, starred review
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 Newbery Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.
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