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The Cricket on the Hearth
Charles Dickens
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The Cricket on the Hearth (Christmas Books)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,819 ratings  ·  375 reviews
"THE kettle began it! Don't tell me what Mrs. Peerybingle said. I know better. Mrs. Peerybingle may leave it on record to the end of time that she couldn't say which of them began it; but, I say the kettle did. I ought to know, I hope! The kettle began it, full five minutes by the little waxy-faced Dutch clock in the corner, before the Cricket uttered a chirp. "
Nook, Digitized from 1900 volume
Published 1900 by G. P. Putnam's sons (first published 1845)
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There I was this month, thinking I had temporarily lost my drive for commenting on books read. Until I dug up Dickens--well, it was more like I added him to my phone and listened: eyes closed, breath even, mind a blank slate waiting to be consumed by the sound of words paired carefully. There goes my spare time, Dickens, I give it to you sparingly. Do what you will with it.

And he told me a story. A simple, perhaps even dull, storyline of no intricate consequence and still, I was fascinated. For
The Goodreads description for this book reads like an 8th grader heard about the book via a game of Telephone and then had to write a book report on it:
"Dickens was a Victorian novelist and social campaigner. This novella published in 1845 is a Christmas story. Instead of chapters this book is divided into Chirps. The story revolves around a family with a cricket in the house. The cricket is their guardian angel. At one point the cricket warns the master that his wife may be having an affair.
This was a free download from Audible, and who can pass up a free Dickens?

One of Dickens' Christmas stories, this one features a series of misunderstanding and coincidences in typical Dickens fashion.

A Scrooge-like toymaker named Tackleton is engaged to marry a much younger woman, who clearly does not love him, but needs the financial security he offers. Meanwhile, the lovely Dot is also married to a much older man, but alas, events transpire to lead poor Mr. Peerybingle to believe his beloved D
Unfortunately, this was one of my least favorite Dickens stories I've read to date. I wanted to read something by Dickens for Christmas to take a break from reading A Christmas Carol like I do each year at this time. I was disappointed to discover that, even though this story was in a volume called "Stories For Christmas" by Dickens, it wasn't about Christmas at all. It was basically about a couple families, simple and rustic, that redefine/renew their love for each other through a series of mis ...more
I listened to this book in audio as well as reading it in print. I liked it. I didn't love it. I loved the narration by Jim Dale. He really made the characters come to life, but I had to actually read the printed story to understand parts of it.

The title leads one to belive it might be a cute little story, but it is not. It is a dark story with a grown up theme. There is love, lying, seeming betrayl and hurt feelings going on. Yes, there is a cricket and faries and a lost son returning and a fu
This was the third of Dickens' Christmas books, and like The Chimes, isn't a Christmas book because of its content, but due to when it was released. The novella was hugely popular at the time apparently, and the Wikipedia entry is again informing, though unsurprisingly contains spoilers aplenty ( ).

I'll probably read or listen to the two remaining Dickens Christmas books at some stage, but I'll not be rushing to do so after this and The Chimes.

NB I listen
Thom Swennes
Charles Dickens Christmas stories have always appealed to children. This fact, no doubt, has helped to make his short Christmas stories popular around the world. The Cricket in the Hearth is the third story in his Christmas story series (A Christmas Carol being the first and The Chimes being the second). Dickens, however, didn’t target children with his writing of these stories but rather the broadest of audiences (everyone). Although none have attained the fame and notoriety of A Christmas Caro ...more
Julie Davis
This is the next book for my Forgotten Classics podcast, thanks to long-time listener (and friend) Sarah Reinhard's request. I've been struggling getting the LibriVox file incorporated with my own but it will be worth the effort to allow you to hear Ruth Golding's fantastic reading of this Christmas classic.


I had to finish this ahead of podcasting the episodes at Forgotten Classics so that I could comment on them at the end. In the end, this wasn't a master work but it was quite enjoyable a
Rachel Kenyon
I hesitate to express my feelings on this one. I found the read to be tedious and dull, and yet ... the story was rather beautiful. You really have to break this one down in order to fully absorb it and appreciate it to its full extent.

We are introduced to several characters. Mr. and Mrs. Peerybingle (otherwise known as John the carrier and Dot). John being of many years senior to his young wife Dot. They appear to be happy together, and the cricket chirps and sings on the hearth as the tea kett
Everyone in our time knows about Charles Dickens’ magnificent A Christmas Carol, but he actually produced five Christmas themed stories in the 1840s, A Christmas Carol being the first.

The Cricket on the Hearth, the third in this series, is less otherworldly than its more famous predecessor, but has magical realism elements with the Cricket as a guardian spirit and references to spirits and faeries. Charmingly domestic, this tells a simple story of love lost and found again as only the inimitable
As I have a large December tbr I'm postponing most of my reviews to 2015.
Kenny Brouwers
I read this Christmas book after reading 'A Christmas Carol' and 'The Chimes', the latter being my favourite. 'The cricket on the hearth' follows the same Dickens-style of narrating, full of repetition and elaborate explanations with some well found word-play and humour every now and then.

Of course there are spirits and a bit of the supernatural in the story, a sour-mannered humbug-character turning into a good-spirited man in the end, poor people finding happiness and the issue of love. A story
Possibly a fact in a short story is that there isn't time to have the same character build up as in a novel. Whatever the reason, it took me a while to figure out what was happening with this story and what was meant by a cricket on the hearth.

After a bit, I read that Caleb lives in an impoverished home with his blind daughter, Bertha. He works for a stern taskmaster, the toymaker, Takleton. To make Bertha feel better about his boss, Caleb exposes his virtues. He does such a good job that Bertha
‘The Cricket on the Hearth’ is a sweet, moving tale of love, loyalty, happiness, and resurrection. The description used by Dickens is charming.

Love and what it means to love transcends in this short novel. Love between a loyal wife and her older husband; love between a blind girl and her father who has painted an ideal world for her; love between a girl and her lost lover. A misunderstanding painted by an unkind toy merchant was mounting to break the trust between the loving husband and the equ
The beginning with its entire focus on noises of the cricket vs the noise of the kettle boiling and reaching its climax seems initially irrelevant and obscure but the clever weaving of the cricket on the hearth throughout the tale reveals its purpose as the story progresses. I just love the sentiment of perceived indiscretion which was absolutely not what it seemed but an entirely honest and lovely act on the part of the truly wholesome, loyal and devoted wife that is the main character of the s ...more
This is a charming little tale full of typical Dickens characters-the sweet, plump young wife, the sturdy, simple, honest and kind husband, the impoverished but good-natured and loving small family, the unpleasant, overbearing and mean merchant and the clumsy servant. There are hardships, misunderstandings, despair and finally all is revealed and the world rights itself again. It is considered a Christmas story but doesn't really involve Christmas, it is simply a celebration of goodness, kindnes ...more
Sue Moro
This was a free download, and the third book in Dickens' Christmas stories. The novella is narrated by Jim Dale who read the Harry Potter series. At times I almost felt like I was listening to a J.K. Rowling book because of the quirky characters and wonderful prose. As to its being a Christmas themed story, I didn't get that feeling at all. The only thing I felt was a slight resemblance of one of the characters to Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Overall I enjoyed the story, but I did ...more
This is my favorite of Dicken's Christmas stories so far! Not nearly as long-winded as he is apt to be, hilariously funny and witty, and very dramatic and surprising!
I loved seeing Dot and John so happy together. Tilly made me laugh my head off; she's so clumsy and ridiculous. The dear blind Bertha with her misconceptions of the world and her poor father are a sad and sweet couple of characters. I loved their story-line! And I liked how it is all tied together by the Cricket's magic of hearth an
Gláucia Renata
Ganhei esse livrinho de presente da minha querida amiga "skoobiana" Marta, que sabe que adoro o autor.
Trata-se de uma novela de cerca de 100 páginas e após ter lido alguns de seus romances mais famosos e substanciosos, creio que teria conseguido reconhecer seu estilo nessa leitura. A história é bem simples e cheia dos elementos sentimentais usuais de Dickens, chegando a ser previsível. Possui alguns elementos fantásticos que me lembraram seu "Conto de Natal". Não dá para se aprofundar na elabora
Disgruntling. Misleading. Humorous. Intriguing. Maddening. Mysterious. Confusing. Superstitious. And… Dickens.

In short, I was angry with the main character until the very ending of the book, due to intentionally deceptive descriptions on the part of Mr. Dickens. Therefore, I did not enjoy the book as much as I probably should have while reading it. I was better able to appreciate the full storyline after I had completed the book. Interesting read.
Feb 12, 2008 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Mom ;)
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This is a favorite! Love to read it at Christmas time. Of course parts are drawn out with detail which one might find inconsequential. I think this is the essence of Dickens, however, and love how the intricate weaving is pulled together in the end!

We have a cast metal cricket that we pull out every Christmas. No traditional we put it on top of the piano. It's the virtual hearth of our home. :)
I had a hard time following the story at times. Keeping the characters straight was a challenge. This is partially due to with the differences in time and culture between Dickens and me. By the end, I did fully understand what was taking place, and it was a good uplifting story.

Cute and entertaining story. I thought I knew how it would end but it surprised me. I listened to it via the Forgotten Classics podcast. It was the Librivox version read by Ruth Golding, who did an amazing job.
Maya Panika
Over-egged with sentimentality, even for Dickens. A little disappointing: very predictable; I thought there'd be a touch more magic in it. I can see why it's not become a classic, but then, A Christmas Carol was an awfully hard act to follow. Comfort-reading, certainly, and pleasant-enough for the season.
I love Dicken's personification of the tea kettle in the first chapter! There are many of the things that I love about Dickens in this story. Still, my favorite book is Christmas Carol, hands down.
I rather enjoyed this little book though I do wonder the connection that it has with Christmas though I enjoyed the drama, the fleshing out of characters and the story itself. A good teaser for me as I plan to delve into Dickens seriously in the coming year.
A nice story from Charles Dickens, I could see traces of Scrooge in the story. The narrator was fantastic, Jan I agree with you. I could listen to Jim Dale read the phone book and it would be wonderful!
Daniel Threlfall
Dickens has this knack for saying absolutely nothing for about half the book, nearly boring you to tears, then suddenly spinning out some deep and intricate plot with a tear-jerking conclusion.
Jim Dale makes the story! At times I forgot I was not listening to the Harry Potter series (which I listened to all episodes rather than reading the print editions). I love Dale's voice, and how he performs the various characters. At times I had no idea what was happening in the story but just got lost in his voice again and again!
Not what I would have expected for a Christmas story, and missed the connection, or was it weak? I also missed the point of having the kettle and cricket arguing - wer
Bèbè ✦ the Ryski  ✦
I don't want to give up on Classics so I'm just going to blame British narrator for making me fall asleep at work...

Gonna have to finish this later when I'm more awake
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
More about Charles Dickens...

Other Books in the Series

Christmas Books (5 books)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Chimes
  • The Battle Of Life
  • The Haunted Man
A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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“Every man thinks his own geese swans.” 5 likes
“It’s a dark night, sang the kettle, and the rotten leaves are lying by the way; and, above, all is mist and darkness, and, below, all is mire and clay; and there’s only one relief in all the sad and murky air; and I don’t know that it is one, for it’s nothing but a glare; of deep and angry crimson, where the sun and wind together; set a brand upon the clouds for being guilty of such weather; and the widest open country is a long dull streak of black; and there’s hoar–frost on the finger–post, and thaw upon the track; and the ice it isn’t water, and the water isn’t free; and you couldn’t say that anything is what it ought to be; but he’s coming, coming, coming!—” 2 likes
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