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post written by Emma Filbrun

Hatchet, by Gary PaulsenTitle: Hatchet
Author: Gary Paulsen
Major Themes: Wilderness, Survival, Canada
Synopsis: When the small plane he is in crashes in a lake in northern Canada, Brian must try to survive with only a hatchet to help him.

One of my boys loves stories about survival in the wilderness. When I came across a used copy of Hatchet, I knew he would love this one! Because he has difficulty reading, I try to find as many books as I can that will appeal especially to him. As I thought, he—and the other boys—enjoyed it as we read it together.

In the opening chapter of Hatchet, we meet Brian, a young teen who is flying to Canada to spend the summer with his father. His mother has just divorced his father, and Brian knows it was because of The Secret. That is very hard for him to deal with, but he soon has a lot more to think about. The pilot of the small plane he is flying in, with no other passengers, has a heart attack as they fly, and Brian doesn’t know how to fly the plane, doesn’t know where he is, and can’t get help, because the radio quits working! After flying for several hours, the plane runs out of fuel and Brian crashes in a small lake with nothing but the clothes on his back and a hatchet his mother gave him that morning. Can he learn to survive in the wilderness, alone? Read the book to find out!

Not a very long book, Hatchet would appeal to anyone who likes a story about survival in the wilderness.

WARNING: Parents may wish to preread this one; divorce, an affair, and suicide are mentioned. I noticed just a bit of language, in chapters 1, 16 and 19, and chapter 10 mentions millions of years.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 10 – 13
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy Hatchet:


Paperback | Hardcover | Audio CD (unabridged)


Keywords: Canada, Survival, Wilderness

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