Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Oooh, what a great book! It was written after my time so I never had a chance to read it when I was the right age (although I admit the odds of me reading it then even if I were the right age were slim), but it reminds me a great deal of one of my very favorite books: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.

In this novel, Brian, a 13-year-old-boy whose parents have very recently divorced, is flying from New York to rural Northern Canada to visit his Dad for the summer. When the pilot has a heart-attack, the plane crashes into a lake, and Brian has to figure out how to survive. But unlike Karana, Brian is a city boy and doesn't know the first thing about how to find shelter, food, or how to start a fire. Exciting, perilous, and ingenious, this book has all the right elements to get a young teen (or tween) boy reading. I couldn't put it down (read it in one sitting in a couple of hours).

For older teens that want to read something similar, I would strongly recommend Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad, which is a true story about a similar situation (a teen in a terrible plane crash on a mountain, pilot and father dead), although it's resolved in just a day or two - not months. This particular edition has a great set of discussion questions in the back and a pre-reading project and a essay idea. Since we picked this up for a student my BF is tutoring, those are particularly helpful.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I borowed this book from my boyfriend, who bought it at B&N.


Julie P. said...

I can't believe I haven't read this one yet. I have it sitting in my "kid" pile and I know I'll love it.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I was in middle school when this was written but didn't discover it until my adolescent lit. course in college. Just shared it with my boys, who ate it up. We're reading BRIAN'S WINTER now.

girlmeetspaper said...

We're almost done with Hatchet and LOVE it! I'll admit I sneaked a peek to the end--I couldn't wait to see what happens! Caroline, I'm curious about Brian's Winter. What can you tell me about it?

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Yes! Though it's the third book in the Brian series (there are five in all, if I remember correctly), it can be read directly after Hatchet.

Gary Paulsen got letters from children wondering what would have happened if Brian hadn't been rescued at the end of Hatchet. He wrote Brian's Winter for them.