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The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  3,909 Ratings  ·  482 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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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)
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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
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
Cheryl
Jan 24, 2014 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
Sara
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
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.
Sara J.
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.

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.
Mohamed
قصة جميلة ولطيفة تتحدث عن التسامح وحسن الظن بالناس ومراعاة شعور الأخرين والأيثار
Suvi
Dec 17, 2015 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
Thom Swennes
Jun 27, 2012 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
Dec 12, 2013 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
Allan
Dec 01, 2014 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
Robin Lee Hatcher
While I enjoyed this book, I found it more difficult to follow than A Christmas Carol. It's a pleasant story with good characterization, and I liked the ending. The audio version was wonderfully narrated.
Bettie☯
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Antea
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is on some way poetic.
Mpauli
Nov 07, 2014 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.
Monica
Che lo spirito del Natale scenda su di me e mi illumini, perchè io davvero non ho capito cos'ha di natalizio questo racconto!
Bastano un grillo parlante, una ciechina e delle fate a fare Natale?
A me è sembrata una favola e basta, del Natale neanche l'ombra.
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
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
Brandon
Dec 27, 2014 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
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, europe
‘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
Kenny Brouwers
Dec 08, 2014 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
CadyCan
Aug 01, 2012 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
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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
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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!—” 3 likes
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