Cessna 406
Cessna 206 on floats

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Interest Level Grade 5
Grade Level Equivalent 5
Genre Adventure, Classics, Series

Brian Robeson is a 13 year old city boy. His parents are getting a divorce and only Brian knows why: his mom is having an affair. He saw them together, her and him. Brian’s world is upside down. He is angry. He is angry that he has to keep this horrible secret. He is angry that he must divide his time between New York and an oil field in northern Canada, where his father works. He is en route in a Cessna 406 (issues with that follows) when his pilot has a heart attack forcing Brian to crash land in a lake. Brian survives the crash, but that is just the beginning of the test of his skills. Alone for the first time in his life, he must hunt, fish, make fire, shelter and survive until….well, maybe forever. His one saving grace is the hatchet his mother gave him before boarding the plane.

I am beginning to see a pattern in these tween books. The boy books tend to ask the question: how would I survive if….. Whereas the girl books lean more to the question: how would I feel if…The girls ask questions about boys, growing up, social issues, etc. The boys are trying to survive vampires, or a plane wreck, dragons, or at least dystopia. Brian eventually is rescued. He’s had time to think and prioritize regarding his parent’s divorce. How would you do for 54 days in the Canadian bush?

My issue with this story is regarding the Cessna 406. I may be wrong, but the only Cessna 406 model that I am aware of is a twin-propeller turboprop, not a single engine bush plane. The plane in this story would more likely be the Cessna 206, a rugged single engine, single propeller plane.

Paulsen, G. (1987). Hatchet. New York: Simon and Schuster.