This is a fictional story about a teenage boy who is in an airplane crash and gets stranded. All he has to protect him is his hatchet. He must learn to survive on his own. I think this book would be good for children between 4th and 5th grade. According to Fountas and Pinell, it would belong in the R level, which is where most 4th graders should be. When I was in 4th grade, my teacher read it aloud to the class and we understood the plot and vocabulary used.
An activity I would do with my students while reading Hatchet would be to create our own survival packs! What would we need if we were stranded in the woods? What would we eat? Where would we sleep?