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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Since it was first published in 1987, the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson's survival following a plane crash has become a modern classic. Stranded in the desolate wilderness, Brian uses his instincts and his hatchet to stay alive for fifty-four harrowing days. This twentieth-anniversary edition of Hatchet contains a new introduction and sidebar commentary by Gary Paulsen, written especially for this volume. Drew Willis's detailed pen-and-ink illustrations complement the descriptions in the text and add a new dimension to the book. This handsome edition of the Newbery Honor book will be treasured by Hatchet fans as well as by readers encountering Brian's unforgettable story for the first time.…


by Gary Paulsen

Overall Book Review:

Hatchet truly is a classic.  It inspired me at the age of 9 to go into my wilderness survial obsession, and its charm has not been lost on me over the years.  Paulsen weaves a clever story and metaphor through Brian’s adventures, leaving the reader to wonder and wince as Brian tries to survive and come to grips with his situation.  Not only this, but Paulsen also sets up a character who is complicated and multi-layered, not just some puppet or figure that goes through the motions of surviving in the wilderness.  For those that want more of Paulsen’s magic, The Hatchet is the first in a series.   A classic for all ages, The Hatchet will inspire generations to come.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  There is a report of violence; a character dies from a heart attack; characters are in a plane crash; a character suffers numerous but non-life threatening injuries from plane crash and wild animals.

Sex/Nudity: A character reports seeing his mother kiss a man who is not his father.

Mature Subject Matter:

Divorce, survival, death, responsibility.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I enjoy reading adventure books like Gary Paulsen’s The Hatchet, probably because I like to lead an active life. Outside of reading, I camp, hike, run cross country and work on a farm, and a lot of these experiences let me appreciate the content of a good book, as well as the unlimited possibilities that can happen between its covers.