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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. He was rescued at the end of the summer. Brian's Winter begins where Hatchet might have ended: Brian is not rescued, but must build on his survival skills to face his deadliest enemy--a northern winter.…

Brian’s Winter

by Gary Paulsen

Overall Book Review:

Brian’s Winter is a result of fan mail, or rather fans that thought Gary Paulsen let his protagonist off too easy in his award-winning Hatchet.  (Mmm, maybe we should all write authors and call them to the carpet more often.  I can think of a few books I thought didn’t end quite right and some that were down right ruined by the ending.)  So, Mr. Paulsen took the challenge of “What if…” that was poised by his readers.

Very much in the spirit of Hatchet, the story continues, but this time the stakes are higher because it is winter and the environment harsher.  This is a survival story, but is also a tribute to the beauty of the wilderness and the magnitude of solitude.  A brief novel that is a great guy read with a lot of upward age appeal.  Even if you loved Hatchet and thought it ended just fine, you will probably still enjoy Brian’s Winter.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation; 1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  Reference to events from prior book; character encounters a large animal upon separate occasions and is injured, non-graphic; character hunts small game upon many occasions and briefly describes shooting with arrows, breaking neck, and cleaning/dressing for eating; extended scene in which character comes upon remains of an animal and describes clinically, but in detail how the meat is butchered and used, graphic with descriptions of blood; 2 extended scenes of encounter and slaying of animal, with clinical, but detailed, graphic description of how meat is butchered and used, mention of blood; character plans how to kill animals; character witnesses animals killing and eating another animal in brief, but intense, graphic, detailed scene.

Sex/Nudity:  Nudity, non-sexual.

Mature Subject Matter:

Survival, death of animals.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!