In Hatchet, Gary Paulsen draws on his own adventures and misadventures to create an exciting and satisfying survival story. On his way to spending his first summer alone with his father, 13-year-old Brian Robeson’s plane crashes in a lake in the north woods of Canada. Brian must set aside his anger over his parent’s recent divorce, as well as the secret that prompts it, and concentrate instead on surviving alone in the wilderness. He takes stock, finding he has little more than the torn windbreaker on his back and the hatchet on his belt, and must rely instead on what lies within him. Through sheer determination, and trial and error, he learns how to find food, build a secure shelter, start and maintain a fire, craft a bow and arrow, catch fish, kill and cook meat, and eventually enjoy the fruits of his labor. In between, he encounters beavers, a turtle, a bear, and wolves. He battles mosquitoes, a moose, sadness, a saturating skunk, hunger, and an equally hungry porcupine. For fifty-four days Brian not only survives, but also thrives on his own ingenuity and drive, and Paulsen’s novel will keep young readers riveted, ever hopeful that Brian will make it home alive.