Thursday, June 3, 2010

HATCHET, the Cartoon Cover

I read to my eight-year-old son at night before he goes to bed, just a quick chapter or two. Well, with our latest book, we decided to take a break from the endless series(es) of dystopian/steampunk/clue-finding/dragon-training/world-building books that are so-hot-right-now (ugh) and, instead, read a skinny book called HATCHET (One book! Can you believe it? Not part one of an epic, nine-volume, movie-tie in extravaganza!) HATCHET by Gary Paulsen. Oh, you've heard of it, great!

HATCHET is super awesome. A kid has to survive the wilds of Canada with, that's right, a hatchet. I have to be honest here, I hadn't read HATCHET before. I know it's one of those books everybody was supposed to read as a kid. Somehow, I missed it. It's 195 pages long and it's a great time. My son and I were both totally into it.

When "Brian," the main guy (we just called him "Hatchet,") first crashes into the woods I asked my son what he thought "Hatchet" should do to survive. My son's earnest response was, "He should find some kind of animal sidekick." Good grief.

I like everything about HATCHET (this sounds like a book report) except for one thing: the cover. The cover's kind of boring. My copy has a milky-white drawing of "Hatchet" with something like that "Three Wolves Howling at the Moon" T-shirt superimposed over it. It's pretty lousy. So I thought, just for kicks, I'd do an awesome cartoon cover for the book:
Yeah! Tell me that wouldn't bring in some new readers. Check it out! Spoiler alert! If you haven't read the book, this covers gives away all kinds of stuff--woops!


Angypants said...

"Hatchett", those kids from "Lord of the Flies" and Thoreau's "Walden" all suffered from lack of animal sidekicks.

Authors- are you doing YOU'RE part??

Greg and Leigh said...

You should have your son write his version of hatchet...I would love to read about his methods of survival.

Gaby said...

Love the look on "Hatchet's" face :)
Another book that is similar to this one is "My Side of the Mountain," by Jean Craighead George. I liked that one so much better.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Worst cover ever (the original, not yours). They're trying to attract young male readers, not drive them away screaming. By the way, there is at least one sequel to that book. Dogsong? (I think.)

ps-Totally sounded like a book report.

victoria said...

I haven't read it but it was my husband Mike's favorite book as a kid. Like the cool book cover!

Ha - my verification word is "reelike." That's how I feel about it. I reelike it.

Anne said...

How come "Hatchet" looks like a zombie? Hey, write that book. Kid gets lost in forest and he turns into a zombie! (with an undead talking animal sidekick of course.)

Ron McCutchan said...

So, in terms of dystopian steampunk, have you read Phillip Reeve's Hungry City series or his younger series (Larklight, Starcross, Mothstorm)?

DaNae said...

I hate to go all librarian on you Jessica, but there are about 3 sequals to Hatchet, none of which are Dogsong (which is a dandy book, but no Brian).

I had no idea that Brian was a manic redhead - good to know.

Animal Sidekick = snarky skunk?

Nathan said...

Wow! Lots of response for Hatchet! I need to redo book covers more often!

Gaby, I haven't read MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN either--although I've met Jean Craighead George and had a long conversation about natural history mural painting with her.

Jessica, there's a sequel? What does his plane crash again? That sounds goofy.

Hatchet does look like a zombie--it's the one color approach, looks fine in blues and greens, but does funny things in red.

Ron, I have read the Hungry City books, they were referred to me by a guy named Ron several years ago...haven't read them to my son though, I bet he'd get a kick out of them.

3 sequels? Aww. And here I was praising it for being a standalone. How many times does one kid crash into the wilderness?

Je Reve said...

My family and I listened to all of these books on tape in 2005 when we toured Yellowstone... It was sooo good, and girls can get into these books... But my sister and I are book nerds...
I'll do another for posterity.....................................................................