Sometimes you've got to read the books that you've got. When I started two, almost three, years ago I inherited a decent sized classroom library. One problem with that: they were relatively dated. By dated I mean 10+ years from publication date in most cases, and that is being generous. Therein is the challenge for the teacher. How do you make sure that you have new books that kids see in bookstores like Barnes and Noble (believe it or not they still actually go there, I've seen them!) as well as old books?
Part of that challenge is alleviated by publishers sprucing up books with new covers. New covers make timeless books look relevant to kids today. Out with the smaller, thicker, tiny font books (mass market books as they are called by booksellers). In with the slightly larger, more space between lines/font, and shiny cover. That is what led me to Hatchet.
I have about 10 copies of Hatchet at school. I opted not to use it for novel study/literature circle because of the size of the book, and the size of the print. It had also been some time since I'd read it myself (although I am not 100% sure I read it as I am confusing it with Call of the Wild). After reading it, I think I'll use it. The story of Brian surviving in wilderness for almost 2 months is moving. I think kids will see the story of growth, and conquering fear in an empowering manner. How can I do that? or I can be just like Brian, taking control of my anger. Perhaps it is far-fetched, but I do see where kids will at the very least be able to identify with the themes in the story. Now I pick up a few more with the fancy cover... hmmm.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5. I prefer books with more dialogue but the story was very good, and you wanted to know what would come of Brian as he struggled to survive in the wilderness.