Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
A 13 year old boy reeling from the divorce of his parents manages to crash land the plane he is taking to visit his father in the far northern Canadian oil fields into a small lake in the wilderness after the pilot dies of a heart attack. The boy proceeds to survive in the wilderness for 55 days on his ingenuity and using the small belt hatchet his mother gave him before he climbed on the plane. A well-executed survival story long on action and self-reliance and self-actualization, this book would likely have enormous appeal for boys from about age 10 to 14. Younger readers with strong skills could also probably tackle the book, but references to the family breaking up over possible infidelity on the part of the mother may give some parents pause, but the book as a whole is definitely recommended strongly for school and public libraries. This was a Newbery Honor book in 1988.