341S: Kids’ Adventure-Wilderness book about two boys settling land while their father returns home

I read this book in the fifth grade so it’s definitely at a lower reading level and published sometime before 2011ish, though it definitely feels like a classic. It reminds me of The Swiss Family Robinson and The Boxcar Children.
I remember the book pretty well so I’ll recount the plot as best I can.
Two brothers set off with their father to settle a piece of land they bought for cheap in Idaho (I think it’s that but I’m not sure). It’s focused less on their journey and more on what they do once they’re there. They cut down trees and begin clearing land for their house and farmland. They begin building the log cabin with their father but then he leaves to go back and bring their mother and sister. I vividly remember how they had to walk around their land to find the best place to put their house and what trees to cut down.
Little do they know, some of their family catches scarlet fever and they have to continue to settle the land and fend for themselves in their father’s absence. They make traps to catch rabbits, use spears to hunt for fish in the river, and when winter comes they even find ways to preserve food for the winter by burying it deep in the snow. They also have to finish construction on the cabin by filling the gaps with mud so they don’t freeze. They learn many skills and assume their father isn’t coming back.
It’s a happy ending when he returns with their mother and sisters almost a whole year later. That’s where the story ends.
Every once in a while I’ll think of the story and try and find it but I haven’t had any luck yet. I remember it really well because when I was a kid I loved the books where characters had to build their own houses and find solutions to fend for themselves.
Please tell me I’m not just making this up!

 

4 thoughts on “341S: Kids’ Adventure-Wilderness book about two boys settling land while their father returns home

  1. This sounds something like “The Sign of the Beaver” by Elizabeth George Speare, although the details aren’t exactly the same. It set in the northeast in the 18th century and is about a boy who is left at their new homestead while his father goes back for the rest of the family. He develops a relationship with a native american boy who helps him survive the winter. Reading level is about right.

  2. Your description sounds a lot like The Sign Of The Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare. They did have a cabin, and the father did leave to go get the rest of the family, and took a long time coming back due to illness, and the boy (only one boy — but he did befriend another, local Indian boy) had to fend for himself.

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