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Monday, October 18, 2010

Student Review: Hatchet (Paulsen)

Today is the first in a series of book review postings done entirely by students!  I hijacked one of Evergreen's Language Arts classes and taught them how to write a book review for the blog.

Author: Paulsen
Genre: Fiction, Survival
Pages: 181

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Brian is stuck out in the middle of nowhere, which, (as you probably guessed) is a big problem. When Brian's pilot has a heart attack while flying him over northern Canada, Brian manages to land the plane in a lake to save himself. Brian is a city boy; he hasn't got much experience outdoors, but he manages to survive for a few days on berries and water from the lake. Berries won't last forever though, so surviving out here, hundreds of miles away from civilization, is going to be a challenge.

I really thought this book did a great job in describing the scale of the ordeal Brian went through. I enjoyed the story because I like to see how the character uses his wits to stay alive. The way that Brian had to be innovative was really cool. For example, Brian builds a bow and arrow to shoot fish. It takes a couple of tries, and he is almost blinded when one of the attempts splinters apart. In the end though, it works. Later on, he even fletches his arrows with feathers from the forest floor, and catches birds and rabbits. That's the kind of creativity that gives the book its flavor.

The theme is definitely coming of age, because Brian really matures throughout the whole book. He grows stronger, smarter, and more in sync with nature. A side factor of this book is the secret. Brian's mother is having an affair with another man behind Brian's father's back. This emotionally challenges Brian as he tries to control his anger at his mother.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 because it was kind of short, and it didn't have the amount of detail that I like to see in a good book. Anyone who likes survival stories or nature books would like this story, but other than that there's not much story value. Both boys and girls would enjoy this book.

So what would you do if your plane crashed, stranding you out in the Canadian wilderness? Would you survive with only a hatchet and your wits to guide you?
--Lauren, 8th grade

Thanks, Lauren!  You did a great job!  And because you turned it in before the due date, you get to be published first.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

Well done, Lauren! If you want more of Brian's story, pick up BRIAN'S WINTER next. I have to confess, I've never read THE RIVER and haven't missed out on anything.

Anonymous said...

Agree. Very little story value.

Kathy Martin said...

Great review, Lauren! This book is very popular with the younger boys in my school. They really like the adventure. For myself, I would not be able to survive. I can't imagine how he did. Paulsen made him very realistic.

Sam said...

You had a really good review! I'm not sure if I would survive, but you never know.

Lauren said...

At Anonymous:

Haha, but it's true.

At everyone else:

Thanks for the comments!I'm really happy to hear what you guys think. Hatchet was an... intresting read.

Lauren said...

Thanks Sam!

Lauren said...

Thankyou Mrs. May!


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