Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (new read)
Full disclosure: I am not a big fan of survival stories. That probably explains why I never read this book when I was younger, even though I had plenty of opportunity.
Hatchet is a story about a thirteen year old boy named Brian who, on his way to visit his father, goes down in a plane crash. The pilot dies and he is forced to go at it alone. We read all about the trials and tribulations he goes through as he tries to survive on his own.
Kids could actually learn a lot from this book as far as wilderness skills go. It details the processes of trying to start a fire, how to obtain food, and making a shelter.
Although I didn’t care for the subject matter, in general, it was a well written book. It seemed realistic as far as I could tell and the epilogue at the end even put some specific names to plants and animals that were described in the story. It’s also a great lesson in perseverance.
VERDICT: I will go ahead and agree that this book has earned its place on the “best of” list. Between the story itself, the realism, and the social/moral dilemmas presented, I think it’s a well rounded book. It has a fairly broad appeal.
**If you find that you really enjoy this book, there are apparently at least four sequels that feature Brian, so you could read a whole miniseries if you want!