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  • Hatchet

  • Written by: Gary Paulsen
  • Narrated by: Peter Coyote
  • Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (296 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Newbery Award-winner Gary Paulsen's best-known book comes to audio in this breathless, heart-gripping drama about a boy pitted against the wilderness with only a hatchet and a will to live.

On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.

More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths. Self-pity doesn't work. Despair doesn't work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

©1992 Gary Paulsen (P)1992 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the critics say

"Brian Robeson, the sole passenger in a single-engine plane, is on his way to visit his father in the Canadian oil fields when his pilot suffers a heart attack. Alone and desperate, Brian guides the plane to a landing on an isolated lake. In a straightforward but compelling narration, Coyote captures Brian's terror, anguish and exultation as he learns to survive alone in the wilderness.... Musical effects underscore an air of suspense, mystery and dread." (AudioFile magazine)

"A dramatic, heart-stopping story." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about Hatchet

Average Customer Ratings
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the best

this has been a favorite book of mine since I was in grade 6... I'm 38 years old now and still love it! will listen to it again and again!

1 person found this helpful

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Good memories

Was at work one day and remembered this book. Listened to it and now have decided to read it to my class in a month or two. 10/10 would recommend!!

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read as a kid in school

only book I ever liked from school brought back memories. great book thank you

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The end of the book

The ending was very bad they didn’t really explain that much of what happened and how he lived after

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Still gripping for tweens and teens

I read this more than two decades ago and was delighted to see that my kids, 15 and 11 years old, were hooked by the Audible version -- the suspenseful story made a long car trip easy (and pleasant by comparison to Brian's ordeal, ha). Very glad to note it was unabridged and having just completed a number of Laurence Gonzales' non-fiction survival texts, it's clear to me that Gary Paulsen did a lot of research into the techniques successful disaster survivors use in reality before writing the novel. Peter Coyote's reading is excellent, clear and well paced, but I didn't love the occasional addition of "ominous" background music -- the story is quite ominous enough on its own. Just a reminder for parents who may skip the synopsis, having read the book before, as I did: you may have forgotten what a large part of the story Brian's parent's divorce and his mother's infidelity are! If you're a separated parent, these sections may be sad or uncomfortable for your children to listen to. On the other hand, Brian's story is about resilience and has many tips for kids dealing with challenges and strong emotions.

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childhood memories

Ths was a book truly brought the feels out. Me and my daughter where absolutely entranced

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a great listen

a gripping tale and not super long. recommended for older children. a good car trip book.

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great

read this back in school and wanted to relive my childhood still a great book

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amazing story from my childhood

great book, one of the firsts I read as a kid, nice to.go back and hear it again, moving to Brian's Winter now!

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Missing parts of the story i think

I read this in elementary school but i also recall something about the pilots head which i did not hear in this story. Maybe im wrong.

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  • Raquel Aceves-Mittman
  • 2012-02-14

Outstanding!

I was looking for an adventure book that my 14 year old son, 11 year old and 9 year old daughters would like. This book fit the bill perfectly! We drive a lot and love to listen to books together. This one kept us on the edge of our seats, wondering what would happen next. Mr. Paulsen is a fantastic writer and we look forward to listening to the rest of the books in this series.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 2004-04-06

Too real to be fiction

I could listen to Peter Coyote read anything. The story itself is a wonderful tale of adventure in the very harsh world of the wilds, yet there is a beauty in this boy's struggle to survive. The scenes of desperateness will make you breath shallow and strain to hear. It is a great story, too good to be fiction. Enjoy.

24 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Teacher / music lover / book lover
  • 2006-04-11

Survival Story for Grades 5 or 6 through 8.

This is a story about a young boy, aged about 12, whose parents are divorcing. He is on his way to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness when a disaster occurs. The pilot has a heart attack and dies, mid-flight, and the boy must figure out how to get the plane to land and then survive in the Canadian wilderness until help arrives. My son read it in 6th grade and loved it, and he really hated to read. It does have some mature themes -- divorce, infidelity, and death -- so is not suitable for K-4 or K-5 children. It is, however, an enthralling story that pre-teens and young adolescents enjoy.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KV
  • 2004-04-23

the whole family loved it!!!

This started out being a entertainment for a road trip and turned into a highlight of our weekend away. My mind kept going back to the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. The way such a young boy finds strength in himself, against all odds, is absolutely inspiring.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tara Murphy
  • 2007-12-14

Gripping! Life inspiring story.

I listened to this story after my 4th grade daughter reccomended it to me! They read it in class and I listened while doing my usual stuff. It was so amazing, gripping, sad, exciting and truly visual that I would have to stop what I was doing just to stare at my laptop! Peter Coyote is a brilliant narrator/actor and I want to hear more of his narrations now. Thank you to author Paulson for a great story. Can't wait to hear THE RIVER.

16 people found this helpful

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  • R. Wellmore
  • 2012-04-04

Inspiring...

This story is aimed at young folk, but as a 50-something I got a lot out of it and enjoyed it so much I am listening to the rest of the series. My one criticism is that there is way too much dramatic music, and for me it was way too loud. That's why I gave the audiobook three stars overall, even though I rated the story and performance four stars.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • K. Gregory-Fiala
  • 2003-12-04

Excellent book for young teenagers

Gary Paulsen wrote an excellent book on self-reliance, strong character and good common sense,and he wrapped it all up in an exciting survival story. Brian is an incredible character. Every kid should read this book in Middle School. I recommend the audio book for car trips. It keeps everyone engaged and makes the drive time much more enjoyable!! Look for the 2 sequels as well.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • TruBluDevil
  • 2004-12-15

Excellent Listen!

I don't know where to start in singing the praises of "Hatchet"! It has all the key ingredients necessary in a good audiobook, including a narrator who reads with emotion and clarity, and a thoroughly gripping plot. I nearly missed my bus one morning, I was so engrossed in the story! For anyone who loved/s "My Side of the Mountain," this is even better.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kc
  • 2019-01-12

Great story to revisit

I remember reading while in grade school and wanted something quick to listen to while working. Great story that paints the whole picture but the only that took me out of it sometimes was the music/tones. I know it was during tense parts but felt "outdated." Like this was recorded back in the 80s....personally could've done without it but performance was still great. Recommend and enjoy.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • valia
  • 2015-07-05

Fascinating

This is based on a true story.
A fabulous story, it's a story about extreme courage. Please read this book!!

5 people found this helpful