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!