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The Cricket Of The Hearth
 
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Charles Dickens
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The Cricket Of The Hearth (Christmas Books)

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,441 Ratings  ·  437 Reviews
Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous "Christmas Carol." There followed four others: "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man." The five are known today as the "Christmas Books." Of them all the "Carol" is the best known and loved, and " ...more
Published (first published 1845)
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Grace Brooks I think the cricket is a real cricket when Dickens wants it to be, and a kind of sprite or fairy when he wants it to be. The Victorians seem to have…moreI think the cricket is a real cricket when Dickens wants it to be, and a kind of sprite or fairy when he wants it to be. The Victorians seem to have had a great fondness for the idea of little magical creatures being around, toying with us or bestowing boons. Of course, the idea goes back as far as Shakespeare, but the Victorians seemed to feel that they were on the verge any day of finding "scientific" proof (Check out Conan Doyle on the subject, for example), and so they accorded the notion an aura of seriousness that is sometimes a little embarrassing now.

Like you, I didn't feel like the device was particularly helpful in this case. Dickens brought in ghosts in "A Christmas Carol," and wove them seamlessly into the story. He brings the odd crickety-spirit-thing to "A Cricket on the Hearth" and it's just odd.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lyn
Dec 18, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jean
"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."

So begins The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home, and straightaway we can tell that this will be a light-hearted piece. Who else
...more
Cheryl
Jan 30, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Gary
May 23, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartwarming tale about a middle aged carrier, John Peerybingle, his young wife, Dot . the long suffering Caleb Plummer the latter's blind daughter , Bertha, and Caleb's tight fisted and spiteful employer Mr Tackleton
The cricket on the hearth of the delivery man and his wife's home is the guardian spirit of the family, and warns them of all sorts of things to come.
When Tackleton leads John to believe his wife is involved with a young man, it is the cricket who must act as the voice of reason a
...more
Cherie
Dec 19, 2013 Cherie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audio
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
Tristram
Six Legs but Hardly One to Stand on

With all due respect to the achievements of Charles Dickens, who is one of my favourite writers, I think the above eight words quite an apt characterization of this chirp of a book Dickens published in 1845 as The Cricket on the Hearth. It was the third of five Christmas books the Inimitable wrote between 1843 and 1848, and it is probably the one exception to the following statement made by R.C. Churchill in his essay “The Genius of Charles Dickens” [1]:

“Now I
...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Amount listened to: about a third

Jim Dale does an amazing job with the narration (duh), but I just can't with this story. My mind keeps wandering because I do not give a single fuck about the Peerybingles and their saccharine Christmas. I think Dickens' Christmas tales are just not for me.
Suvi
Dec 28, 2015 Suvi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The third installment in Dickens's series of Christmas books, The Cricket on the Hearth is perhaps not set during Christmastime, but it has the spirit of Christmas. When suspicion is planted in our hearts, it can eat away your soul, especially when one fails to see that some people are motivated by negativity. The wounds caused to mutual trust can be healed, though, and - because this is Dickens we are dealing with - trust is eventually restored and the warmth of love spreads into even the colde ...more
Allan
Dec 02, 2014 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cri... ).

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
...more
Thom Swennes
Jun 27, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 05, 2014 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anastacia
Apr 08, 2016 Anastacia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2016
Cricket in the Hearth - every time I hear that name, I always think of the animated Christmas special, though I never really realized it was meant to be a Christmas story until I did a little research about the story after I finished reading it.

At under 100 pages, the original Cricket in the Hearth was published as a short novella in 1845, unlike his usual serial formats for his longer works.

Cricket in the Hearth is a whimsical tale of lost love and found again, and the Cricket is the spirit of
...more
Linda
Free audible download.

I'll be honest, I didn't quite follow the whole thing very well. But I did get the gist of the sweet story.
And I could listen to Jim Dale all day long and be happy.
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
...more
Mpauli
Dec 06, 2014 Mpauli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I have a large December tbr I'm postponing most of my reviews to 2015.
Kenny Brouwers
Dec 17, 2014 Kenny Brouwers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tom Brennan
A novella extolling the virtues of home, hearth and married life. While I did not find it as interesting/compelling as A Christmas Carol, it did have its moments. The melodrama was a bit hard to take at times but I got through it.

Jim Dale is amazing - and it was nice to get an idea of his narration before plunging into the Harry Potter books, which will likely happen later in 2016.

My one issue though is that the Audible audiobook is listed as being unabridged, but the very last paragraph is mis
...more
Anthea
Apr 29, 2016 Anthea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is on some way poetic.
Brandon
Dec 26, 2015 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
This book is one of the more enjoyable Christmas books by Charles Dickens. Though it is not as complete a novel a 'A Christmas Carol' is or as thoughtful as 'The Chimes' it is full of some warm and funny scenes and has lovable characters with the typical Dickensian quirks meandering their way through a tale of misunderstandings, strangers with hidden secrets and the warmth of the Victorian hearth that Dickens captured so well.

The book seems rushed to me and probably could do with at least one m
...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
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
Parikhit
Aug 11, 2016 Parikhit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘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
Aug 01, 2012 CadyCan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jemma
Feb 03, 2016 Jemma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I enjoy Dickens's shorter novels more than the longer ones.
I notice the language more.
Polly Clarke
Dec 17, 2015 Polly Clarke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a joy of a story. Dickens at his most optimistic and full of Christmas warmth.
Frances
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
Jul 26, 2015 Sue Moro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a free audible.com 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
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...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

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“Every man thinks his own geese swans.” 7 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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