Steinbeck doesn't expect you to scale any mountains here. Sure, the dialect can be a bit tricky, but once you get used to the dropped word endings, it's pretty easy reading. Mostly, we're dealing with language like this:
Our narrator is straightforward, with words like "dabbled," "wiggled," and "splashes." Our characters are even simpler, with some really questionable grammar choices. And the plot? Something along the lines of boy meets boy; boy meets girl; boy loses boy. In fact, the toughest part is making it through the darn book without reaching for a tissue.