Hatchet. Bradbury Press/Macmillan, Inc: NY, 1987.
Newbery Honor 1988
The River. Delacorte Press: NY, 1991.
Brian's Winter. Delacorte Press: NY, 1996.
Brian's Return. Delacorte Press: NY, 1999.
Paulsen has created a fascinating detailed, and realistic account. You can easily see yourself in Brian's place.
Hatchet: Flying from New York state into Canada in a small plane, Brian's pilot has a massive heart attack, and the plane goes down. Brian is left stranded in the wilderness alone with only a hatchet to help him survive. During the 54 days he is alone, he learns through trial and error and hard labor. By the end of that time he becomes proficient at survival and he has undergone a powerful transformation.
The River: The government wants to place Brian in the wilderness again so that they can study how to help people survive in the wilderness. This time a government psychologist goes with him. During a storm the psychologist becomes incapacitated, and Brian fears he will die without medical help. He decides to build a raft and transport Derek down the river for help.
Brian's Winter: In the novel Hatchet, Brian is rescued after he manages to reach the radio from the plane. Brian's Winter is a different conclusion to Hatchet. If he hadn't been rescued, he would have had to somehow deal with winter.
Brian's Return: Brian is having trouble adjusting to school and "normal" life. He tries to talk about his experience in the wilderness and sees that others aren't listening to him. He wants to go back to the woods. In Brian's Return, he learns he can go back on his own terms and continue to study the natural world as he did before only without being trapped.
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