On The Banks Of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Then Ma told them something else about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and besides that, he was all the time. Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everyone was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning you saw what that had done.
Nothing goes right for the Ingalls at their new settlement in Minnesota. Their crops fail, they end up in debt because even though they don’t want to be beholden to anyone for the cost of a slate pencil they for some reason buy the materials to build a new house on credit, and the girls can’t go to school – their whole reason for returning to the East – because they can’t afford shoes. Still, with hard work and routine and observing the Sabbath, life goes on happily for several years beside Plum Creek.
Considering how straightforward these books are and how that’s most of the pleasure of reading them, I’ve got to stop reading the summaries on the back beforehand.
At first, the Ingalls lived in a sod house in Minnesota. Then Pa built a clean new house beside Plum Creek, buying the materials for it on credit, intending to pay for them with the fall wheat harvest. But just before the harvest, a strange glittering cloud suddenly blocked out the sun. Plunk! Something dropped on Laura’s head, and fell to the ground. It was the biggest grasshopper she had ever seen. Millions of them descended over the countryside – and then there was no wheat crop.