As an author's note explains, in the first half of the 19th century, settlers began to move into the land beyond Pennsylvania, into Ohio, and found a place of enormous, ancient trees. The insouciant voice of a young boy tells how his father, armed only with an axe, carves out a place for them. The narrator and his brother (""me and Willy"") are old enough to help in some of the work; the boy--in the way of older brothers--sees ""the little ones,"" his sisters and the baby, almost as an undifferentiated group. The amount of labor it takes to fell enough trees for a cabin and to plant a field is astonishing, and even the smallest children work hard gathering nuts, moss, and clay, trying to keep forest visitors from eating crops, and locating a stash of honey. The illustrations amply portray the beauty of the land and the homespun environment: golden light breaking through the forest, gilding patched clothes and tea pots; glistening rivulets of honey on johnnycake. Thoughtful children will note that the native people have moved on, and that much of the huge old tree growth was simply burned. Engaging, entertaining, unsentimental.