The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home
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The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home (Christmas Books #3)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,144 ratings  ·  302 reviews
"The Cricket on the Hearth. A Fairy Tale of Home" is a novella by Charles Dickens, written in 1845. It is the third of Dickens' five Christmas books, the others being "A Christmas Carol" (1843), "The Chimes" (1844), "The Battle of Life" (1846), and "The Haunted Man" (1847).
Paperback, 82 pages
Published July 30th 2009 by Wildside (first published 1845)
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Cheryl
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...more
David
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...more
Becky
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.
...more
Chris
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
Cherie
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...more
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.

FINAL

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...more
Lacie
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.
Parikhit
‘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...more
CadyCan
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
Michael
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...more
Dave
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.

Diana
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.
Cheryl
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.
Margaret
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.
Lori
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!
Lynn
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...more
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
Barth Siemens
Dear Mister Dickens, Why use five words when fifty will do? Actually, why find a new word when you can use the same one repeatedly? Well played.
Barbara
Dickens doesn't need my review. I just have to say I am a reader who needs a dose of Dickens now and then. Dickens never saw a word he couldn't replace with five or more multiple syllables of his own. He never knew a simple sentence he couldn't expand to half a page or and beyond decorated to resplendence with commas, semicolons, and parentheses. After a time of reading today's spare writing, edited to the barebones so that novels seem more like scripts, I have to take up with Dickens for a flin...more
Julia Hjertenstein
Dickens is amazing in every way possible. He is, by far, the best author I've ever come across.
Margaret
This was the perfect read for winter days and nights. Not quite as wonderful as A Christmas Carol, it still has some interesting characters (including the cricket) and a Dickensian misunderstanding that resolves happily for all. Jim Dale's narration is excellent as always, although Dot's voice seemed a bit strained at times. Having both read and listened to the story, I would definitely recommend the audio version to get the full effect of Dickens' writing. This leaves the listener with a happy...more
Erik
This story is marketed as a Christmas tale, but it is not. In fact, the story has nothing to do with Christmas. I gather that Dickens published it at Christmas time, but that is the closest relation it has. This is a short story with a message of humility, forgiveness, and avoiding quick or rash judgements. These are certainly characteristics that are very much in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, but if that is what makes a Christmas story, then I would also classify books like Les Miser...more
Deana
Bleh. Audible was giving this away around Christmas time, and now I see why. The narration was fine, though a bit slow (the book itself is not even 90 pages and it took over 3.5 hours of reading -- most books have a bit smaller ratio of pages to hours). But the book itself was just ... meh.

The first hour I listened to while running, and at the end of it exactly nothing had happened. Although if you think about it, that's about 20 pages into the book, so I suppose it makes sense that nothing had...more
Carolina
Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

Why I read this book

For Christmas Audible gave a free book that turned out to be this classic from Dickens.

What the book is about

The book opens introducing John Peerybingle (I had to look the spelling of that one up!) and his wife Dot. Through them we meet the other characters, a lovely woman, engaged to a horrible man that is believed to be charming to the eyes of a blind girl. I know it sounds like a lot of deceive, and there is such, but it sounds...more
The UHQ Nasanta
2.5 stars

Narrated by Jim Dale

Review in progress

Story
Ok. Too similar and reminiscent of The Christmas Carol. Portrayal of blind girl - since what age had she been blind? If old enough to know colors then surely old enough to remember how shabby a living her home was? If since birth, how does she know colors? Listened to the audiobook along with the illustrated ePub copy from Project Gutenberg (11th ed) and it looks as if it has a different ending than most editions - a questionable one that casts...more
Kate Dutson
A Fairy Tale of Home, this third Christmas book of Dickens was a greater commercial success at the time than its predecessors, though A Christmas Carol would be remembered, where The Cricket on the Hearth gradually faded in its notoriety. The reason for this lies, I think, in the merry and novel plot of the former, and indeed its more blatant stance as Christmas-themed. The latter is a quaint and not unlovely story, but has no especial qualities to render it a seasonal favourite.

That said, the...more
Batgrl (Not Trusting GR With My Reviews/Shelves Now)
Dickens at his most melodramatic. The villain is clearly The Villain, all but twirling his mustache to wed the young girl who obviously doesn't love him. There is a heroine thought to have committed a moral crime, a hero wronged, a good/saintly girl with a handicap (blindness), etc. etc. Melodrama in all ways, and because it's a short story we don't get much character development, so we don't really see any of these as complete, three dimensional beings. As in most melodrama, there is indeed a h...more
Juergen John Roscher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy  W'f
Dickens is not one of my favorite authors, and I approached this book with trepidation, even though it is quite short (82 pages in my edition). This is one of Dickens' Christmas stories. He manages to work his usual Christmas magic (although Christmas is never mentioned in the story), and I quite enjoyed the story. The book is subtitled "A Fairytale of Home" and the story revolves around the home life of two families: Dot and her older husband John,who is a carrier, and a toymaker named Caleb Pl...more
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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...
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.” 4 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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