The Book Reviews – Website

September 2, 2008


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Author: Gary Paulsen

Page Length: 181

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: It’s summer and what should be a fun time, but Brian’s parents have split and he’s traveling to see his father in Canada. During the plane ride, he can’t stop thinking about the terrible secret he knows. Suddenly, the pilot is in terrible pain and the plane is headed down. Brian must act fast to have any chance of survival. Will help arrive in time? Can Brian survive the plane crash and sustain himself the wilderness below?

REVIEW: Paulsen is well known for his survival of the fittest like stories. This book is a good read for anyone – because one never knows when survival on your own might be necessary. This book leaves the reader considering how they could survive and pondering what they would do in Brian’s situation. Brian never completely gives up hope as he must learn the hard way to kill or be killed and to do whatever it takes to survive. This story is thought provoking about what is important in life. It sends a clear message that survival depends often depends upon one’s mental attitude (a lesson many teenagers could use).

Hatchet is a great teaching tool. It naturally lends itself to journal responses (students might write entries as if they were Brian after each chapter). Students can connect with Brian’s feelings and experiences. Critical thinking is required for survival.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: theme, setting, point of view, characters, author’s purpose, responding to text, visualizing as you read, making predictions

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: killing animals for survival

RELATED BOOKS: Brian’s Winter, The Cookcamp, Dogsong, Canyons


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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