Death is a natural part of life, and I think most children know this organically, and it is adults who have forgotten that. In my opinion, Margaret Wise Brown was a kind of wasp griot, and this story has a lot of West African notes in it, particularly the mourning song. The illustrations are updated so that two of the children are of colour. Both of them are wearing costumes, and neither of the white children are. I'm not certain the illustrator did that consciously. Or with any of several intents that seem obvious.