How could a child read this book and complain about her life in 21st century America? The two families in this book suffer from the ravages of grasshoppers, illness, hunger, and jealousy. They argue and fight with each other, eventually going so far as to kill each other’s animals and set fire to the other’s farmhouse. A hardscrabble life complete with rattlesnakes and alligators and swamps. Yet there was also a beauty to this life, of neighbors helping each other, even when they have little for themselves.
Do endings like this really happen in real life? Would modern children believe this ending?