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The Cricket on the Hearth

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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  4,934 ratings  ·  607 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
Audible Audio, unabridged, 4 pages
Published December 11th 2013 by Audible, Inc. (first published 1845)
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Brandon The cricket is real and throughout the book it is a device Dickens uses to help set mood and tone. When the cricket is chirping all is well in the…moreThe cricket is real and throughout the book it is a device Dickens uses to help set mood and tone. When the cricket is chirping all is well in the home - like when John Perrybingle returns to his loving wife - and when it is not chirping there is a darkness - like when Tackleton and the dubious stranger appears. It's best explained when Dot goes on a little spiel concerning the cricket referring to their home being 'the luckiest in the world' and how the insect help her with her doubts and loneliness when it's 'harmless music' was so full of 'promise and cheer.' The Victorians were a superstitious bunch and they firmly believed that a cricket in the house meant a happy home just as much as they believed that a household fairy brought good luck and fortune to the residents of the home. In short the cricket is a symbol of happiness rooted in everyday superstition of the times.(less)
Jessica I do know it wasn't the only Dickens Christmas story to be set at a time other than Christmas--The Chimes is set during the ringing in of the New…moreI do know it wasn't the only Dickens Christmas story to be set at a time other than Christmas--The Chimes is set during the ringing in of the New Year. This is helpful from the wikipedia page: "In July 1845, Dickens contemplated forming a periodical focusing on the concerns of the home. It was to be called The Cricket, but the plan fell through, and he transformed his idea into a Christmas book in which he abandoned social criticism, current events, and topical themes in favour of simple fantasy and a domestic setting for his hero's redemption." It makes me wonder if he had much of a story already written, then just adapted it to make it feel celebratory for Christmas time, even though it's not Christmas.(less)

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Lyn
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Merry Christmas!

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 onl
...more
Bionic 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
Brina
I attempted to read A Cricket on the Hearth for a holiday challenge in the group Reading for Pleasure. It is probably just the wrong time of year for me because I have enjoyed the other Dickens stories I have read. This is precisely why I read A Christmas Carol in October so that I could view it with an open mind. That being said, I did find out the origins of Jiminy Cricket, which I found to be touching. As with his other stories, Dickens writes social commentary about ills befalling the lower ...more
Katie Lumsden
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
I love this one - a really nice and heartwarming read.
Bill  Kerwin

It may seem ironic that in 1845—the year the Irish potato failed, the Andover workhouse scandal began, and Friedrich Engel’s The Condition of the Working Class in England was first published—Charles Dickens decided to forgo the social criticism evident in his first two Christmas books, A Christmas Carol and The Chimes , and to concentrate on a sentimental tale of the English family instead. Perhaps Dickens was responding to criticism that The Chimes was too radical; perhaps he merely wished to d
...more
Piyangie
The Cricket on the Hearth is one of the five Christmas stories by Charles Dickens. I have read this along with A Christmas Carol and The Chimes in a collection two years ago. Surprisingly except Christmas Carol, I've quite forgotten the other two stories; so it was a pleasant reading experience recalling the forgotten story.

This is a domestic tale that flows around two families - the Peerybingles and Plummers, and the wealthy but stern and cold toy merchant Mr. Takleton (resembling Scrooge
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Cindy Rollins
Our book club read this as a quick December read. Our other recent books had been pretty stiff reading. This was a delightful departure. Yes, Dickens knows Christmas!
Sara
I love Charles Dickens all year round, but I really adore reading him at Christmas time. I had never read this novella before, and it lived up to my expectations of what a Dickens tale should be. It is billed as a Christmas story, but I don't see it as that at all. It is a story of home and love and the value of those over money.

I might not ever listen to the chirp of a cricket quite the same.

Happy New Year to everyone here at Goodreads and around the world. I wish you all a happy home, filled
...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Catching up with the classics
Cheryl
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
RJ
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cricket on the Hearth was Dickens' third holiday novel and stands superior to the dark and moody The Chimes but inferior in every way to A Christmas Carol. The plot is a trifle of mistaken impressions with a saccharine ending, unoffensive but also unmemorable.
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
John
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much cheerier tale than The Chimes with an an imaginative story line which evolves cleverly. Only the clutter of words and clumsy sentence structure gets in the way to spoil it. I did not always find it easy to follow.

Christmastide doesn’t figure at all here but the message and sentiment are quintissential Christmas – Love and fairness towards our fellow man and woman. (Dickens here exploring relationships between men and women had me thinking about his relationships with women, in particular
...more
Chris
Dec 01, 2011 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 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 15, 2013 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
Terris
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I loved this, and it made me realize how much I have been missing Charles Dickens (since I haven't read him for awhile)! I love his wordplay, fun with language, and his sense of humor overall.
It's a very, very sweet story about couples in love that think that they are each cheating on each other, and there's a blind girl and a cricket, and then they're not cheating on each other, and they all live happily ever after....oh, sorry for the spoilers -- but it's Charles Dickens. What were you expecti
...more
Jessica
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theclassics, own
Huh. You always hear about this one, behind A Christmas Carol I think it's Dickens' most well-known Christmas book. But there's nothing about it that has anything to do with Christmas. And it's actually kind of . . . not horrible, but abrupt, I suppose. Like the outline of a much longer novel. Characters suddenly appear or disappear, and the ending wraps up far too quickly.
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found I had to take notes at the beginning due to the seemingly meandering prose. But once I got the hang of the references and which names actually meant which persona I could stop taking notes. I found this one quite delightful. But then again I haven't found a Dicken's work I have finished that I did not like.

Morgan
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't that into this story as much as I thought. It's still a good one to read for the season though. Mainly wanted to read this one for a while because the comic book Fables has the Cricket in some of their Christmas issues.
Milena
The cricket is the Genius of the Hearth and Home. His song inspires us with feelings of love, and tell us to hear everything that speaks the language of our hearth (and our heart).

There was a man who listened to the cricket’s voice. His name was John, he “was but a carrier, but a poetry of heart hid in his breast”, and Dot was his young wife. They lived peacefully together, and the cricket was the soundtrack of their happiness. Instead, no cricket sang in the house of old Tackleton, the toy mer
...more
Tam May
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to read that this book was part of a series of Christmas books (A Christmas Carol among them) that Dickens wrote. Unlike that book, this one doesn't have the creepy elements that make it more a ghost story than a story of good Christmas cheer. But this book has a little too much sentimentalism for my taste. I also found Dickens' rambling style a bit too much for me in this book. It's an interesting story, though, and the metaphor of the cricket on the hearth is nicely done.
Bob
I guess I will let my ignorance shine and admit that I had not heard of this book prior to its being nominated as a group read. Since this read is scheduled for December and other Christmas stories were also nominated, I assumed this too, was about Christmas. Not really a typical Christmas story, unless you focus on the emotions of Christmas. This little story has a lot to say about love, family, sacrifice, trust, and redemption. It’s an excellent story and I heartily recommend it.
Amanda
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I listened to the Jim Dale narrated audiobook, to whose narration I'd not listened to before. He really made the characters come alive! I'll have to reread this to be sure of my thoughts on the story, but for now three stars is well deserved.
Lara Mi


"Hark how the cricket joins the music with its chirp, chirp, chirp; and how the kettle hums!"

The Cricket on the Hearth is a cute story that merely suffers from its shortness - but that's just me, I can't connect well to short stories. Otherwise, for a Dickens book, this one has surprisingly many likeable characters. In fact, all of them turn out to be quite a merry group. Of course, they all have rather distinct personalities with obvious quirks - it's all the more a shame that they are in suc
...more
Helga Cohen
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a heartwarming classic in the Christmas series of books by Charles Dickens. The cricket in this book is the harbinger of the home of John Peerybingle and his wife Dot. The cricket on the hearth chirps when things go well and it is silent when there is sorrow. When a jealous old man portrays evil and poisons John’s mind, the cricket with its powers restores John’s confidence and happiness. This is a touching story and classic Dickens.
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
Saarah Niña
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Merry

A welcome, short read. Happy and jovial, good fun, didn’t at all see that plot coming... Enjoyable, with Dickens's quiet and light humour.
Shannara Petty
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Honestly, I think it’s mainly because I was hoping for something more like A Christmas Carol. This is not like A Christmas Carol, but it’s still good. It did take me a minute to learn all the names because it seemed like a lot of the characters had two names. (view spoiler) ...more
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Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who 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 short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

Dicke
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“Every man thinks his own geese swans.” 10 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!—” 3 likes
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