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Incident at Hawk's Hill (Hawk's Hill #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,978 Ratings  ·  145 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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5th out of 34 books — 40 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 18, 2016 Corinne rated it really liked it
For me, this is the best book by Eckert. He has not only captured the world as seen from the point of view of toddler Ben, but also from the point of view of the badger!!

Being a biologist, he has made the scene involving the badger completely realistic in all details, including the emotions of the badger as reflected through her actions.

The interactions between Ben and the badger is appropriately progressive from the beginning, starting with a lack of trust to a growth of trust. Both do the ri
The Shayne-Train
The little one and I both highly enjoyed this story. I had read it myself back when I was her age, and remembered only that I thought it was 'gnarly.' (Leave me alone, man, it was the mid-eighties.)

It's a well-written and excellently-paced story of survival, acceptance, and perseverance. And, now that I read it with adult eyes, it may be the first novel I'd ever read that had an autistic protagonist.

Did I cry at the end? Maybe. Hey, shut up, my daughter did, too.
Apr 18, 2008 Debi rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 01, 2015 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a young boy who is able to copy animal sounds and then one day gets lost in the woods and it starts to storm so he seeks shelter in a badger hole then soon the badger comes back soon they develop a friendship that will be put to the test.
I loved this book because every thing was described so well that you would think that you were there!
I learned that true long lasting friendship is a road with a lot of hardships and happiness.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Oct 21, 2015 Phoebe rated it really liked it
Sometimes you just wanna live with badgers.

Read this as a child. Can't remember much, other than wanting to hang out with badgers. Little me couldn't get enough of these types of books.
Feb 11, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it
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
Mar 16, 2011 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2013 Colleen rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
As a book on naturalism and human nature, this offers a good solid read. The life of birds, bugs, and badgers makes for fascinating plot and themes. The villain is quite blustering but cowardly. There are touching family scenes of a distant father clumsily attempting to close the gap between himself and his animal-centric son, and a mother tries to tell her husband why it's important to love and understand the boy (rather than shout at him).
I do wish that the only church scene didn't feature sm
Kris Irvin
Oct 16, 2010 Kris Irvin rated it liked it
This is a great book. Very detailed. I may have learned more than I ever wanted to know about badgers, but I did fall in love with little Ben and his adopted badger-mom.

As a side note, it's very interesting to see the differences in children's literature since this book was published (1972) and now. This book by today's standards would be very slow and boring, with not much action. It's really too bad that our children are growing up on Captain Underpants instead of quality books like this one.
Susan Katz
Feb 16, 2011 Susan Katz rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
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.
Chronique complète ici :

"En conclusion, c’est un petit livre que je n’aurais sans doute jamais lu de moi-même si on me l’avait prêté (je suis honnête, hein), qui pourtant recèle de belles leçons de vie quand on veut bien s’y attarder, ainsi qu’une rencontre impressionnante et hors du commun, bien que les six semaines ne concernent au final qu’une partie mineure dans le bouquin. Il est à noter aussi le nombre de descriptions de moments « yeurk » qui vous fe
Aug 13, 2014 Alisa rated it it was amazing
I have very strong memories of this book from my childhood. It was the first near-adult-level and near-adult-sized novel I read as a child, and I recall being very proud that it said "novel" on the book's cover. I also remember still the storyline of a boy living with a badger, and it was definitely worth rereading as an adult. Great nature observations, both from the six-year-old main character and the omniscient narrator. I particularly love the detailed descriptions of the techniques a badger ...more
1972 Newbery Honor Book

This book is supposedly based on a true story about a boy who was rescued by a badger when he is lost on the prairie. I thought the story was well written and kept my attention.

Ben is a strange six year old boy. He talks to animals but not so much to his family. He seems isolated especially from his father and three siblings. There is an animal trapper/furrier who comes to Ben's farm one day with a dead badger. This sets off a chain reaction of events that ends up with Be
Oct 17, 2016 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-history
Worldview: Universally Acceptable

Read Aloud - 6 yrs +
Independent Reader - 9 yrs +

Location - Winnipeg, Red River, Manitoba
Time Period - 1870

This is an uplifting, touching story about a small boy who becomes lost in the prairies near Winnipeg. He has a natural affinity to animals and survives two months alone through his friendship with a badger. There is a wealth of naturalistic information presented in this book. The habits of badgers and beautiful descriptions of the prairie
Jul 12, 2015 Sean rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and at first, I didn't think I was going to like it. Historical Fiction has never been a favorite genre of mine but this story deals with the theme of loss, independence, and individuality so well. This book had surprisingly graphic and raw moments. It isn't anything that students or parents should be concerned for but are quite powerful and sometimes a bit gross. The book is incredibly well written and the use of language and vocabulary to describe emotions and action ...more
This 1972 Newberry Award winner is based on a true story that was to have taken place in 1870. The McDonald's live at Hawk's Hill, remote and rugged country. The youngest member of the family, Ben is a lover of animals and nature. He doesn't speak much but he can mimic the sound of most any bird or beast. Ben, at six, is small for his age, he hasn't started school yet and his father has little time for his nonsense.

His mother says Ben will come around, it's just going to take some patience. They
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
May 10, 2012 Ealaniz rated it really liked it
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
Jul 08, 2014 Kelsea rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2016 Dianeh rated it it was amazing
Never having heard of this book, even having worked in the children's department of a national bookstore for 5 years, I picked it from a little free library because of the Newberry medal on the cover. After reading the author's note about it being based on a real incident, I read and loved it. The author's knowledge of the animals of the prairie, especially, the badger was very informative. Having the story told from the badger's and Ben's perspective made it a wonderful read.
Nerine Dorman
Apr 03, 2012 Nerine Dorman rated it really liked it
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
I really wanted to like this book. I didn't really in the end.

From the description of the book, I think I just built up some unrealistic expectation of the book and what it was going to be after having just read MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN. I expected the book to be more about Ben and his time in the wild, and less about his father's acceptance of his son. The violence at the climax was way out of level with my expectations of a story about a 6 year old boy too.

Another issue I had was with the langu
Apr 08, 2014 Shayla rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 03, 2008 K. rated it it was amazing
**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
Oct 11, 2012 Raquel rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2008 JoDean rated it really liked it
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
Angela Blount
Aug 02, 2011 Angela Blount rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
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
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Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.

Eckert was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, but had been a long-time resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, near where he attended college. As a young man, he hitch-hiked around the United States, living off the land and learning about wildlife. He began writing about nature and American hi
More about Allan W. Eckert...

Other Books in the Series

Hawk's Hill (2 books)
  • Return to Hawk's Hill: Sequel to the Newbery Honor-Winning Incident at Hawk's Hill

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