Incident at Hawk's Hill
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Incident at Hawk's Hill

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,219 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Six-year-old Ben is very small for his age, and gets along better with animals than people. One June day in 1870, Ben wanders away from his home on Hawk's Hill and disappears into the waving prairie grass. This is the story of how a shy, lonely boy survives for months in the wilds and forges a bond with a female badger. ALA Notable Book. Newbery Honor Book.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1971)
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The Great Empty by Anita MelilloMy Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead GeorgeIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellDragonsong by Anne McCaffreyIncident at Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert
YA Survival Stories
5th out of 31 books — 34 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteElla Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamilloRamona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly ClearyHatchet by Gary Paulsen
Newbery Medal Honor Books
97th out of 305 books — 232 voters


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Community Reviews

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Debi
My reading group just finished this book today. It's high praise when a fifth grader hands you the book and says, "Best book ever." with eyes shining. It's the (possibly) true story of a young boy who wanders away from home and bonds with a badger in the wild. The author writes about the animals and humans in a very realistic way. And the ending, while kind of manipulative, tugs at you even after you've finished the book. It will be on my class reading list every year.
Alicia
We picked this book because Joshua is writing his 3rd grade Mammal Report on badgers. In this true story, a 6 year old boy wanders away from home and gets lost on the prairie in 1870. A mother badger who just lost her babies finds the boy and cares for him for 2 months until he is found. We learned all we ever wanted to know about badgers (and much more). Joshua was mesmerized by the story and all the details of nature. Rachel liked the story line but wasn't as interested in all the badger detai...more
Melody
First re-read of this since I was a kid. I loved it with my whole heart then, and was relieved to find that I still love it.

This story, allegedly based on a true incident, is about a boy who lives with a badger for a period of time. The natural history details are glorious- everything you ever wanted to know about badgers, their habits, their diets, and their vocalizations! The story itself is good, though a touch on the melodramatic side.

Recommended for natural history people and animal lovers...more
Colleen
Just finished reading this with my 10 year old son as his "read-aloud" (at least 20min. a week) for the last several months of 4th grade. A beautiful and gripping book. We were both tearful at the final chapter. Excellent vocabulary -- there were a few words in there I'd never heard of. Well written description of characters (you quickly grow to love/dislike) and of action. Good for animal lovers. Earlier in the year his class read some "survival" stories and Hatchet by Paulsen, so this fit in w...more
Susan Katz
This book brought to mind Walt Whitman's "Sometimes I think I could turn and live with animals." It's lovely to know that the story's based on a true incident of a badger caring for a boy. Here the author develops that intriguing germ of an idea into a book that also speaks about acceptance and understanding of those who don't conform to expected norms and about the power of love to bridge distances and bring healing to a troubled family. Especially recommended for animal and nature lovers.
VerJean
Another 'young person's' book, but hey, it wasn't even published til I was old enough to drink (early in Iowa) and by then, I wasn't as interested in boys, badgers and feel-good nature books.
However, this would have been a favorite. For a non-animal-person, I've often reached for books about animal/nature adventure.
Not having spent enough time in WI, haven't had much knowledge about badgers . . . except for the silly of humor of the honey-one who doesn't care!
Of course, there is our MI car-fer...more
Emmet O'Neal Library- Children's Department
Although this book received a Newbery Honor when it was published, you probably haven’t heard of it. The cover most likely won’t convince you to pick it up. Even the introduction might persuade you that it’s too slow to finish. But once you’ve gotten into the story, you may have a hard time putting it down until you’ve blown all the way through the last page.

Ben is a boy who doesn’t do well with people. This worries his family, especially his father, who simply cannot understand why his youngest...more
Rachel
Although this book received a Newbery Honor when it was published, you probably haven’t heard of it. The cover most likely won’t convince you to pick it up. Even the introduction might persuade you that it’s too slow to finish. But once you’ve gotten into the story, you may have a hard time putting it down until you’ve blown all the way through the last page.

Ben is a boy who doesn’t do well with people. This worries his family, especially his father, who simply cannot understand why his youngest...more
Ealaniz
The youngest of four, Ben MacDonald is the strangest compared to his older brother and sisters. Ben’s father, William MacDonald wonders why his own son runs away from him. He wonders and asks his wife Ester, and she says that Ben needs more attention. The MacDonald family has the worst neighbor, George Burton. The family thinks he is strange but in a bad way. He has a dog Lobo who follows him. George Burton is a trapper, he traps animals in a very cruel way, and he lets them suffer. One day Ben...more
Kelsea Chase
This book has always been one of my favorites ever since I was nine years old. I read it around seven times each year. Badgers still remain one of my favorite animals. This book is a tale about a boy getting lost in the hills. He comes across a badger set and stays there until the badger comes. Together the boy and the badger fight dogs, and find food. Among one of my favorite parts is the part were the boy gains night vision. I thought this was really interesting especially since "He prefers it...more
Nerine Dorman
Okay, this is one of the few books that had me sniveling in public, but then I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to any animal stories. Eckert is a keen observer of the natural world and if you are looking to be immersed in the setting, look no further than this author's writing.

About the only aspect of the novel I didn't like was the obvious stereotyping when it comes to the antagonist, the "evil" man "naturally" being tall, dark and dirty.

There's an interesting story attached to this novel. M...more
Shayla
This book is really sad! I had to read it for school and I have to say I didn't like it that much. It was a very different book but it might could be something that could happen. Maybe I don't like it because I more into romance fiction and fantasy but it also has a cliff hanger at the end. I mean in some books that's amazing but in this one it didn't wrk ur that we'll fr the author.
K.
**spoiler alerts
Loved that this was "based" on a true story--that fact made my husband and son more interested in reading it. I also appreciated that the author didn't put human emotions into the animals, the badger losing her pups was heartbreaking enough as it was.

The bonus of this story wasn't the boy's amazing summer of surviving in the wild with the badger, but the way the whole experience brought his family together. It had a message I know I often need--the mother asks the father, "how o...more
Raquel
I think I was in middle school or maybe even elementary school when I first read this book. It made such an impression on me I kept it. Every time I've seen it on my shelf, I remembered vaguely that it was an unusual story of an unusual child with a strong affinity for all animals who ended up living with and being adopted by a badger. Though I hadn't read it in at least 10-15 years, I couldn't bear to part with the book whenever I would review my library for trimming.

Having reread it now, I'm s...more
JoDean
What a marvelous story about the connection man can have with animals. Six year old Ben is lost in the Canadian grasslands and is taken care of by a badger. She doesn't just take care of Ben, Ben cares for her in crucial ways.

Ben has a gift for ultra keen observation and mimicry of animals. He is a little "different." His mom totally accepts him and tries to get dad to understand personal timing - Ben will be OK on his time.

In the end, we have a great survival story, a family healed and a messag...more
Angela Blount
I read the book at about the age of 13, and I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 12 unless they have a more advanced vocabulary. It did leave a lasting impression, to be sure. I enjoyed things about the wilderness, animals, and survival. The base relationships in it both fascinated and uplifted me. The ending was even satisfying, which isn't something I could say about many of the required reading books. Although, I do sympathize with those who were -forced- to read this or any book. I just ha...more
Abigail Rasmussen
The last time we moved, this book somehow got packed in our book boxes from our Grandma's house. Once we were unpacking our books in our new home (1000 miles from Grandma's house!) I found this book and devoured it in just a couple of sittings. I told my mom about it and she promptly began reading it aloud to all of us. We've read it aloud to each other at least two more times since then and it's on all of our "favorite book lists."

The story centers around a shy 6 year old boy, Benjamin McDonald...more
Jill
Man, this is the third book I've read recently in which part of the novel takes place underground. What's with that? I'm starting to feel claustrophobic!

Now I'm not usually a fan of animal stories, but this was convincingly told. Who knew a story about a boy and a badger could be so gripping? Surprise, I enjoyed it!

Spoiler alert--the quote below hints at the ending. Stop reading here if you haven't finished the book.

"Ben's lover lip trembled but he said nothing and MacDonald squeezed his should...more
candace jean
I read this book only once before, and that was at least 20 years ago.
All I could remember of the story was a young boy befriended a badger by offering her pink baby mice, and that it wasn't boring.

I was happy to have found a copy to read and refresh my memory of this Newbery Honor-winning tale, based apparently on true historic events.

Get past the lengthy, nearly dull prologue and power through the gorish details of animals being skinned, getting eaten and torn apart, and you're in for a heart-...more
Amanda
Oh my gosh, I loved this book when I was a kid. I always liked books where some kid went off and lived with the animals, or had a close relationship with animals, like in My Side of the Mountain.

If you haven't read it, or your kid hasn't read it...give it a shot. I cried like a big crying baby at the end...and for once it was not necessary for the animal to die.
Clackamas
This might be the best book you never read. Maybe you saw the movie during primary school. Maybe someone read it to you when you were young and you have this vague recollection of a story about a little boy and a badger... but you can't quite recall...

I originally read Incident at Hawk's Hill when I was eight and loved it. It inspired my love of nature. It's the first book that evoked emotion from me, anger, fear, grief, joy. Of course, as a kid I believed that it was all true and hoped that I c...more
Catherine
I loved this book as a child and enjoyed re-reading it as an adult. Eckert is a great writer. This was a book that stayed with me, and I thought about it often over the years.
Francoise
Excellent. It was easy to see why this book was chosen as a Newbery in 1971. It is based on a true story of a little boy who wandered away from his family who lived on the Great Plains in the late 19th century. He was cared for by a mama badger. I didn't know anything about badgers before reading this story. It's very enlightening. This was written by a person with a thorough knowledge of animal life of this area. The style and language of this book mades me wonder if there are any children nowa...more
Alina
vivid nature scenes and heartfelt story of boy and wild badger... love how the ending is left to the imagination of the reader.
Karen
I had never read this 1971 Newbery Honor book. I'm glad I finally got around to it.
Beautiful story.
Natalie
My favorite book as a child. Excited to read as adult and see if it holds up to my recollections.
Jackie
I read this because my fifth-grader read it in school and really enjoyed it. It's a great story, based on actual events, which is amazing.
Alyson
Really interesting. See http://www.eatreadandbemommy.com/2014... for details.
larrytheimp
A boy on a homestead is lost out on the prairie during a storm, and seeks shelter in a badger's den. The badger helps the boy to survive, and develops a strong bond with the boy. Much sentimentality ensues.

I loved this book as a child. When I was a young lad of about 10, I'd wander the fields near the property my family rented looking for a badger den to hole up, hoping that I'd get a best friend badger for life like the kid in the story. Badgers are not indigenous to Connecticut, but I wasn't a...more
Allison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.
More about Allan W. Eckert...
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