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The Cricket on the Hearth with illustrations and FREE audiobook

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You may find this book on the web either for free or for sale but you can rarely find a well-formatted version that is easy to read and navigate for a very reasonable price with some beautiful artworks that are Christmas themed. The time and effort expend to have a well-formatted book for your convenience will be covered by the book’s cost which is affordable. Many of the b You may find this book on the web either for free or for sale but you can rarely find a well-formatted version that is easy to read and navigate for a very reasonable price with some beautiful artworks that are Christmas themed. The time and effort expend to have a well-formatted book for your convenience will be covered by the book’s cost which is affordable. Many of the books available online are mostly converted from its original format that made them disconnected and hard to read. As a reader, you don’t want to spend your time figuring out where to start or look for the next chapter while reading it. It is for your best interest why this has been put together in one easy and convenient place for you. You can have this e-book for an incredibly lower price. The Cricket on the Hearth is Charles Dickens third of five Christmas books. Dickens described the novel as quiet and domestic, innocent and pretty. It is a story about relationships and how they are affected by such emotions as love and egotism. The story centers on John Peerybingle and his family who are visited by a guardian angel in the form of a cricket who is constantly chirping on their hearth. A cricket, believed to be a symbol of good luck, works as a cementing factor between the couple. FEATURES: • Includes beautiful artworks and illustrations • A link of a FREE audio book to download • Active Table of Contents for an easy navigation within the book • Saves space and don’t have to carry a hard copy around • Offers an easy access and convenience to this classic literary masterpiece for a reasonable price • Gives a lasting entertainment and values for readers of all ages • Your purchase is money back guaranteed, no questions ask. Just email us the screenshot of the last page of the e-book to get a refund.


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You may find this book on the web either for free or for sale but you can rarely find a well-formatted version that is easy to read and navigate for a very reasonable price with some beautiful artworks that are Christmas themed. The time and effort expend to have a well-formatted book for your convenience will be covered by the book’s cost which is affordable. Many of the b You may find this book on the web either for free or for sale but you can rarely find a well-formatted version that is easy to read and navigate for a very reasonable price with some beautiful artworks that are Christmas themed. The time and effort expend to have a well-formatted book for your convenience will be covered by the book’s cost which is affordable. Many of the books available online are mostly converted from its original format that made them disconnected and hard to read. As a reader, you don’t want to spend your time figuring out where to start or look for the next chapter while reading it. It is for your best interest why this has been put together in one easy and convenient place for you. You can have this e-book for an incredibly lower price. The Cricket on the Hearth is Charles Dickens third of five Christmas books. Dickens described the novel as quiet and domestic, innocent and pretty. It is a story about relationships and how they are affected by such emotions as love and egotism. The story centers on John Peerybingle and his family who are visited by a guardian angel in the form of a cricket who is constantly chirping on their hearth. A cricket, believed to be a symbol of good luck, works as a cementing factor between the couple. FEATURES: • Includes beautiful artworks and illustrations • A link of a FREE audio book to download • Active Table of Contents for an easy navigation within the book • Saves space and don’t have to carry a hard copy around • Offers an easy access and convenience to this classic literary masterpiece for a reasonable price • Gives a lasting entertainment and values for readers of all ages • Your purchase is money back guaranteed, no questions ask. Just email us the screenshot of the last page of the e-book to get a refund.

30 review for The Cricket on the Hearth with illustrations and FREE audiobook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    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 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 only the inimitable Mr. Dickens can. Loyal readers of his prose will also enjoy many other ubiquitous qualities of his writing such as complex characters (and wickedly appropriate names) social observation and comment and the long lost traveller surreptitiously come home. This one may not be as timeless as other of his stories, its charm is just as good. A recurring theme is class distinction and this may make this one relevant for our time as well. Delightful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    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 "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 could start a novella with such aggrieved indignation by ... well we never really do learn who the narrator is. But right at the start we find ourselves in the middle of an argument between a kettle and a cricket, and it is hilarious—a real joy to read. Dickens loves to give inanimate objects life. He frequently turns a house or a chair into a quirky character with its own presence. Here is Dickens writing to his friend and mentor John Forster, of how he envisaged this charming story, "... a delicate and beautiful fancy for a Christmas book, making the cricket a little household god—silent in the wrong and sorrow of the tale, and loud again when all went well and happy" And this is what begins to unfold before our eyes. A dialogue between a simple kettle and a magical cricket threads all through the story; household fairies, goblins and sprites abound, all centring around an old-fashioned hearth with an open fire, belonging to a bygone age but epitomising home, domesticity and comfort. We have wonderfully drawn characters, a mystery to solve—and we certainly do have "wrong and sorrow". The whole elaborate confection is imbued with a fairytale quality. John and Dot "beaming, useful, busy little Dot—" Peerybingle, now there's a name to instil some joyful Christmas cheer. We quickly learn however that their marriage is threatened by a wide difference in their ages. This is a favourite theme of Dickens, an older husband and younger wife; the older man seeming to be a bit of a plodder and the younger wife being more vivacious and having a bit more more spirit. But who is this mysterious stranger who arrives? Here begins the element of mystery which Dickens always conjures up so well. Are there hints that Dot recognises this unexpected visitor? Before long we are introduced to the Ogre of the piece: a hard-hearted toymaker called Tackleton. Or "pretty generally known as Gruff and Tackleton—for that was the firm, though Gruff had been bought out long ago; only leaving his name, and as some said his nature ..." But wait, how can a toymaker be an Ogre? Read this and all will become clear, "Tackleton the Toy-merchant, was a man whose vocation had been quite misunderstood by his Parents and Guardians ... cramped and chafing in the peaceable pursuit of toymaking, he was a domestic Ogre, who had been living on children all his life, and was their implacable enemy. He despised all toys ... delighted, in his malice, to insinuate grim expressions into the faces of brown-paper farmers who drove pigs to market ... movable old ladies who darned stockings or carved pies; and other like samples of his stock in trade. In appalling masks; hideous, hairy, red-eyed Jacks in Boxes; Vampire Kites; demoniacal Tumblers who wouldn’t lie down, and were perpetually flying forward, to stare infants out of countenance; his soul perfectly revelled." What an inspiration for a villain: someone who delighted in creating toys with horrible faces, and expressions which would terrify their young owners! Of course he also happens to have a none too attractive appearance and manner, and to top it off is about to marry a young innocent girl. As well as the merry Peerybingles and gruff old Tackleton, we have hilarious cameos in the shape of the family dog, Boxer, and Tilly Slowboy, Mrs. Peerybingle's nursemaid. Tilly Slowboy is certainly "slow"; a great clumsy oaf of a girl, who seems to inadvertently use the baby as a battering ram at every opportunity, "Miss Slowboy, in her little errors of judgment, may be said to have done equal honour to her head and to her heart ... though these did less honour to the baby’s head, which they were the occasional means of bringing into contact with deal doors, dressers, stair-rails, bed-posts, and other foreign substances ... she had a rare and surprising talent for getting this baby into difficulties: and had several times imperilled its short life, in a quiet way peculiarly her own." There are many instances of Tilly Slowboy's antics as the text moves on, making for a very lively read. Tilly may be hitting the baby's head on something or losing "it" (the baby is always described as an object) under the grate. You may well find yourself laughing laughing out loud. We then move on to a centre section; the "Second Chirp". Here is another household comprising old Caleb Plummer, a poor dollmaker working for Tackleton, and his blind daughter Bertha. This part is significantly full of pathos, and if it feels at all over-sentimental, it is worth remembering that Victorians believed such disabilities as blindness were inherited. Dickens's portrayal of the yearning feelings of Bertha, is thus a deliberate way of building yet more tension in the story, because it was not very socially acceptable for the blind to marry. By now we have several relationships which appear to have complications and problems beneath the surface. There are at least two deceptions. One seems well-meaning, appealing to our emotions despite our trepidation, but the other could indicate treachery. That one is shrouded in doubt and uncertainty. As the story proceeds, (view spoiler)[ John is shown what appears to be proof of Dot's infidelity (hide spoiler)] , and so he consults the spirit of the Cricket on the Hearth. Earlier in the novel Dot had said she liked the the chirping of the cricket, as it would bring luck. The cricket is revealed centre stage, "The Cricket on the Hearth came out into the room, and stood in Fairy shape before him" and a Voice tells John that all will be well. In in the end all the worry which John and others had is proved to be a misunderstanding. Everything falls nicely into place, and the couple are once more blissfully happy, and their friends join them. Happiness abounds, and there is even a surprise moral conversion of one character, on the lines of Ebenezer Scrooge's in "A Christmas Carol". Towards the conclusion, everything is sweetness and light, dancing, gaiety and good humour. The ending of the story has a wistful dream-like quality, as the scene winds down, and the story slowly refocuses, "Hark! how the Cricket joins the music with its Chirp, Chirp, Chirp; and how the kettle hums!" As the narrator watches, his bright vision "... vanished into air, and I am left alone. A Cricket sings upon the Hearth; a broken child’s-toy lies upon the ground; and nothing else remains." The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home is the third of Charles Dickens's five "Christmas Books". Unlike Dickens's novels, which were all initially published in serial form, the Christmas Books were all first published as books, a year apart. This one was first published as a novella on 20th December 1845. The first three Christmas books were the centrepiece of Dickens's public reading tours in the 1850s and 60s. Seventeen stage productions opened during the first Christmas season alone. One production actually opened on the same day as the book's release. For many years The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home was more popular on stage than "A Christmas Carol"! Victorian readers found its depiction of a happy home very attractive; this was a Victorian ideal. Nowadays however, a domestic setting focusing on the concerns of the home can seem banal, and this novella is sadly sometimes considered sentimental. In his first Christmas book "A Christmas Carol", Dickens had divided into his novella into chapters called "Staves"; in the second, "The Chimes" he named them "Quarters". Here, in The Cricket on the Hearth he whimsically calls them "Chirps". In fact "whimsical" is a word which springs to mind to describe the whole content of this book. Although these first three were all phenomenally popular at the time, only the supremely optimistic "A Christmas Carol" has kept its reputation as a perfect Christmas story. "The Chimes" in many ways was a very topical story, directly about the social problems of the 1840s. Although we can easily relate to its broad message, it now seems less relevant, and some specific references are often missed. Overall now readers often consider it too depressing and downbeat. With The Cricket on the Hearth Dickens has returned to a more lighthearted tone. The bitter sardonic voice of the author has gone, along with the harsh descriptions, and we are back to a scenario which Dickens himself describes as "quiet and domestic ... innocent and pretty." The public loved it, and it quickly went through two editions. William Makepeace Thackeray said, "To us, it appears it is a good Christmas book, illuminated with extra gas, crammed with extra bonbons, French plums and sweetness ... This story is no more a real story than Peerybingle is a real name!" And here we have the crux of the matter. Do not expect the satirical side of Dickens here, nor the hectoring lambast he tended to indulge in, especially in the early novels. This is all sweetness and light; the tongue-in-cheek voice of the Dickens who loved his magical sprites, his house fairies, his pretty females and his quaint, comfortable domesticity, his laugh-out-loud cameos, and his happy endings. It is as the subtitle suggests, "A Fairy Tale of Home," and although it is quite sentimental for modern tastes, if you approach it in the right spirit you may enjoy it immensely. The original illustrations were unusually by several different artists: Daniel Maclise, John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield and Edwin Henry Landseer. The frontispiece, a lovely engraving by Daniel Maclise, features many of the goblins and fairies that Dickens seemed to love to include for atmosphere and that bit of elusive and inexplicable "magic" — especially around Christmas. The version reviewed here is from 1912, when Pears' Ltd., published Centenary Editions of the first five Christmas books by Dickens, and also commissioned new artists. The illustrations are not caricatures. They are naturalistic monochrome watercolours by L. Rossi, but they are also very fine.

  3. 5 out of 5

    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 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 classes of London during the time in which he lived. I was especially moved by the relationship between Berta, a blind girl, and her father who are her eyes and link to the world. Yet, in the end, because this is a story written for a holiday which I do not observe, I could not read it to completion during the month of December. Perhaps I will try again next summer when there are no holidays and I can read the second half of this classic book with an open mind. Read 50%

  4. 4 out of 5

    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 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 develop a few narrative fragments left over from his abortive periodical The Cricket, intended to be a tribute to the English hearth and home. Whatever the reason, Cricket was popular, and profitable, though the critical reception was mixed. It is certainly sentimental. The middle-aged John Peerybingle, due to a set of deceptive circumstances (the sort common to sitcoms and romcoms), fears that his devoted young wife "Dot"—mother of his infant son—has been unfaithful to him. He is wrong of course (this is a Dickens’ Christmas entertainment, after all!), and—once confidence has been restored and tearful faces dried—the Peerybingle abode is once again what it had been: a humble, happy English home. There is the usual wealth of characters with memorable names: the loyal but reckless nanny Tilly Slowboy; the miserly old toymaker Tackleton, old Caleb Plummer who carves Tackleton’s “noah’s arks” and his blind daughter Bertha who sews the “unseeing eyes" on the faces of Tackleton’s dolls. Watching over the Peerybingle household is the Cricket, the lares and penates of the English hearth, chirping his joyous and protective song. I enjoyed The Cricket on the Hearth, both because of and in spite of its sentimentality, but—trigger warning!—it contains passages so frolicsome, so candied, that they may be dangerous to the health of diabetic readers, particularly if they are sensitive to style. For example, take the following excerpt, where "Dot" Peerybingle’s wifely virtues are enthusiastically exemplified by the pains she takes to clean and fill her husband’s pipe: She was, out and out, the very best filler of a pipe, I should say, in the four quarters of the globe. To see her put that chubby little finger in the bowl, and then blow down the pipe to clear the tube, and, when she had done so, affect to think that there was really something in the tube, and blow a dozen times, and hold it to her eye like a telescope, with a most provoking twist in her capital little face, as she looked down it, was quite a brilliant thing. As to the tobacco, she was perfect mistress of the subject; and her lighting of the pipe, with a wisp of paper, when the Carrier had it in his mouth — going so very near his nose, and yet not scorching it — was Art, high Art. And the Cricket and the kettle, turning up again, acknowledged it! The bright fire, blazing up again, acknowledged it! The little Mower on the clock, in his unheeded work, acknowledged it! The Carrier, in his smoothing forehead and expanding face, acknowledged it, the readiest of all. It would be unfair, however, to close with this glimpse of Dickens at his worst, Dickens so close to self-parody. Instead, consider this reflective statement made by old John Perrybingle the Carrier, who blames himself for whatever temptation his young wife Dot may have faced while married to him: ‘Did I consider,’ said the Carrier, ‘that I took her — at her age, and with her beauty — from her young companions, and the many scenes of which she was the ornament; in which she was the brightest little star that ever shone, to shut her up from day to day in my dull house, and keep my tedious company? Did I consider how little suited I was to her sprightly humour, and how wearisome a plodding man like me must be, to one of her quick spirit? Did I consider that it was no merit in me, or claim in me, that I loved her, when everybody must, who knew her? Never. I took advantage of her hopeful nature and her cheerful disposition; and I married her. I wish I never had! For her sake; not for mine!’ Ah! There's a glimpse of a Dickens’ character at his best, touched by the self-knowledge and compassion that comes after great travail, the kind of insight that, through their difficult journeys, Copperfield, Carton, Pip and even old Dombey came face to face with at the last!

  5. 5 out of 5

    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 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 of A Christmas Carol ). Through the story, Dickens paints a true picture of simple domestic lives of the people of lower-middle class. Their happy contentment and wealth in their domestic love is a strong contrast to the lonely unhappy life of the rich authoritative merchant. Dickens believes in domestic happiness and contentment as the ultimate wealth in life as so often displayed in his works. The story is an interesting short fiction with love, jealousy, suspicion and deceit all playing a role. Dickens's light, humorous and witty wordplay combines all these themes in to one touching tale with a happy ending. I really enjoyed the idea of the cricket being a fairy acting as the guardian angel of the Peerybingle family. This was a proof that I have still not outgrown fairy tales! Overall, it was a good, engaging and enjoyable novella.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I love this one - a really nice and heartwarming read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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!

  8. 4 out of 5

    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 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 only a few can tell a story quite like Dickens (now I must read and re-read his works in the months to come). The personification of cuckoos and crickets. A carrier, a toy merchant, and a blind woman. Love and suspicions of a lover. Loving deception--if one can imagine such a thing. The kettle hums. The cricket chirps. The storytelling mastery begins. Put aside the nagging reminder that your protagonist is oldddd and that his love is quite a youngun. Or the annoying reference to the "pathetic" daughter or the nagging wife. Oy, those minor annoyances become trivial once you get narration like this: Did I mention that he had always one eye open and one eye nearly shut and that the one eye nearly shut was always the expressive eye? It all started with the cricket on the hearth. Get upset at a character only to learn that he is in fact being mocked by the narrator: "A twist in his dry face and a screw in his body." A compelling narration indeed. This oddly placed, entertaining "voice" that moves the story along. The depth of character introspection that is missing from so many contemporary short novels and stories. And did I mention again, how simple the story really is, this realistic fairy tale which showcases the human condition?

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 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 with love, kindness and peace.

  10. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Catching up with the classics

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    Although I've noticed people dislike this novella for its sentimentality I actually found it quite dark and sad. There were some stunning metaphors in there though and all is well in the end. It isn't as festive as A Christmas Carol but a good read for the winter.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    If you like trite plots, maudlin scenes, corny symbols, and superficial characters, this story is for you. There is good Dickens and there is bad Dickens, and I can’t say this was good Dickens. What’s surprising is that in its day I have read The Cricket on the Hearth was more popular than A Christmas Carol. That is hard to believe, so perhaps my reaction is isolated to me. I gave it two stars instead of less because the theme of family love and bonds is nothing to snark at. Perhaps you will lik If you like trite plots, maudlin scenes, corny symbols, and superficial characters, this story is for you. There is good Dickens and there is bad Dickens, and I can’t say this was good Dickens. What’s surprising is that in its day I have read The Cricket on the Hearth was more popular than A Christmas Carol. That is hard to believe, so perhaps my reaction is isolated to me. I gave it two stars instead of less because the theme of family love and bonds is nothing to snark at. Perhaps you will like it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    RJ from the LBC

    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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    Not for me Another of Dickens' short Christmas tales, along with The Chimes which I read and didnt love last year, A Christmas Carol, and maybe a few others. I find these overwrought, and this was also confusing and thin on plot. I think the idea was to create Christmas as an important family holiday, and to rise up against the importance of always working in this new industrial revolution. Others of his works do this better.

  15. 4 out of 5

    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 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 Dot is secretly meeting with a gallant younger man. Lastly, there is Blind Bertha, the daughter of impoverished Caleb Plumber, who has conspired to conceal from his blind daughter their true circumstances. I have said that Caleb and his poor Blind Daughter lived here. I should have said that Caleb lived here, and his poor Blind Daughter somewhere else—in an enchanted home of Caleb’s furnishing, where scarcity and shabbiness were not, and trouble never entered. Caleb was no sorcerer, but in the only magic art that still remains to us, the magic of devoted, deathless love, Nature had been the mistress of his study; and from her teaching, all the wonder came. The Blind Girl never knew that ceilings were discoloured, walls blotched and bare of plaster here and there, high crevices unstopped and widening every day, beams mouldering and tending downward. The Blind Girl never knew that iron was rusting, wood rotting, paper peeling off; the size, and shape, and true proportion of the dwelling, withering away. The Blind Girl never knew that ugly shapes of delf and earthenware were on the board; that sorrow and faintheartedness were in the house; that Caleb’s scanty hairs were turning greyer and more grey, before her sightless face. The Blind Girl never knew they had a master, cold, exacting, and uninterested—never knew that Tackleton was Tackleton in short; but lived in the belief of an eccentric humourist who loved to have his jest with them, and who, while he was the Guardian Angel of their lives, disdained to hear one word of thankfulness. These three couples, whose lives are intertwined, are each the beneficiaries of a cricket on a hearth, who conjures household spirits symbolic of all that is good in their lives, and the miseries each endures are overcome in the end. A heartwarming little tale, though not one of Dickens' best. I didn't delight in any marvelous Dickensian turns of phrases as I have in so many of his other stories, nor were the characters particularly memorable. But it's certainly a nice tale to listen to by a crackling fire. (Or in my case, while raking leaves.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    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 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. Even though this seems to be a tragic occurrence all is well in the end. Love prevails and a girl may regain her sight. This is a Christmas tale after all." I'm amused by this. I'm tempted to go through sentence by sentence to grade this travesty of an assignment, but I shall restrain myself. There's just too much wrong there, from bad grammar and punctuation to random statements that have nothing to do with the book, to just 100% incorrect info. At one point the cricket warns the master that his wife may be having an affair? A girl may regain her sight? Telephone really is the only explanation for this level of wrong. Tackleton tells Mr. Peerybingle that his wife is being unfaithful, not the cricket. And Bertha's eyes are her father, who describes the world to her. It's just ridiculously bad. Shamefully bad. But I digress. I actually enjoyed this little story, despite it being read by Jim Dale (hatehatehate) and not being about Christmas at all. I'm guessing that it's a "Christmas story" because it was originally released a few days before Christmas... or maybe based on the Gregorian calendar? The story takes place in January, and has nothing at all Christmasy about it. The celebrations are because of a wedding, and an anniversary, and a new baby... not Christmas. Oh, but maybe the cricket/fairy/angel...? Ehh, it's a stretch. Grinch, Grinch, Grinch! Scrooge, Scrooge, Scrooge. That's me. FYI. So, anyway, taking away the non-Christmasness, and the Jim Daleness (hatehatehate), otherwise I thought it was good. Took a little while to get going, but after the twelve minute kettle/cricket serenade, things dropped into the story of Victorian homelife, with a little fantastical twist of having a cricket/fairy/angel in it. Though, honestly, that whole aspect could have been removed, because the conflict was resolved separately. Umm, so, I guess what I'm saying is that you should only read this while drunk. It'll make perfect sense then.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Anthony

    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 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 his wife and mistress(es)). The mature carrier, John, married to a much younger woman Dot (real name Mary). Her school friend too is also about to marry a much older man in order to help the flagging family fortunes. This older gent is a toy seller who hates children and has not a little in common with old Scrooge. Dickens also looks at society’s attitudes towards disability – focusing on young blind Bertha and shows himself ahead of his times. I formed the impression that this tale was written in a hurry and would benefit from editorial intervention, slimming it down somewhat.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris Shank

    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 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 misunderstandings. The 'cricket' is real, but also a metaphor of the spirit of the home ('hearth') that works on one's thoughts and memories to help a person perceive the true value of the ones they love, especially in time of doubt. See, I told you it was stupid. Ha! But seriously, it was a Dickens story through-and-through with its wit, poetic observations, surprising twists, and nostalgic backdrop...but the plot was the most lame I've read to this date. I'm glad it was only about 70 pages.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    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 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 and point the way to the truth of her innocence, making for a happy ending I did like the turn of phrase(especially Dot's) and the humour and those who say that this novella lacked Dicken's usual wordcraft were missing something.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn S.

    I hadn't read this book in about ten years, and when my siblings found a movie version of it, I realized how much of it I had forgotten. This is a wonderful classic, full of vivid description. I adore the Cricket and his cheeriness, and Bertha is a dear. Dot and John are a sweet couple, and the lesson to never keep secrets from your loved ones -- even good ones -- is one we could all probably use. As is the lesson about jumping to conclusions, and staying strictly with the truth, even when the t I hadn't read this book in about ten years, and when my siblings found a movie version of it, I realized how much of it I had forgotten. This is a wonderful classic, full of vivid description. I adore the Cricket and his cheeriness, and Bertha is a dear. Dot and John are a sweet couple, and the lesson to never keep secrets from your loved ones -- even good ones -- is one we could all probably use. As is the lesson about jumping to conclusions, and staying strictly with the truth, even when the truth is hard to bear . . . While this would be best appreciated and understood by older children ((14+)), it is easily read by a younger audience . . . or can even be used as a read aloud.

  21. 5 out of 5

    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 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 funny little baby nanny too. Like The Christmas Carol, it turns out in the end and everyone is happy. I was glad.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    I feel the plot didn't come through as clearly as Dickens had hoped. I found it difficult to follow.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH is one of those stories that causes me to want to ignore the plot structure and character motivation problems, and give it 5-stars simply because it left me with a friendly, satisfied glow. In truth, though, the coincidences, artifices, and some character reactions are of the “Aw, c’mon!” variety ... so much so that it might be subject to derision from Readers in the hands of a less accomplished writer. One thing that THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH also has is charm aplenty. THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH is one of those stories that causes me to want to ignore the plot structure and character motivation problems, and give it 5-stars simply because it left me with a friendly, satisfied glow. In truth, though, the coincidences, artifices, and some character reactions are of the “Aw, c’mon!” variety ... so much so that it might be subject to derision from Readers in the hands of a less accomplished writer. One thing that THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH also has is charm aplenty. The Fairy Creatures that emerge at a critical time are magical in more than presence. Dickens could have chosen to spend considerably more time with them, and I would have happily gone along with him. In addition, there is a key description told to a blind girl that literally sent a heartfelt tear down my cheek. I was emotionally moved more than once during this tale. The story’s greatest strength is the moral reminder that perceptions don’t always reflect the truth, that people we have loved deserve considered reflection instead of hasty judgments, and that ... sometimes ... there truly is magic in the world if we will just take the time to look for it and recognize it when we find it. Suffice it to say that I now have a very different opinion of the occasional cricket that chirps in my garage! In LITTLE DORRIT, a character who was subject to sudden fits of anger was encouraged to “count to five and twenty.” It isn’t as quick a solution, but I would encourage such disgruntled folk (and pretty much everyone else) to read THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH. Perhaps it will also leave you with a satisfied glow of contentment.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara J. (kefuwa)

    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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    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 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 merchant who was delighted, in his malice, to build toys that frightened children, “and what he was in toys he was (as most men are) in other things”. This story about the value of home and family is one of Charles Dickens’s five “Christmas Books”. I enjoyed “The Haunted Man and the Ghost Bargain”, and I loved “A Christmas Carol”, but I struggled to read this one: as I was reading a line, I had forgotten previous one already. While reading it, I had the impression that it was just a track that Dickens wrote for a Christmas reading, and I would have loved to listen to him. But reading it in a book was quite boring for me. How could I not love Dickens though, when he writes that the hearth, but for the woman of the house, “were only a few stones and bricks and rusty bars”, but, as the story appears to suggest, women must be let free to choose whom to share their hearth with.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Layla

    4.5/5 “Hark, how the cricket joins the music with its chrip, chrip, chrip; and how the kettle hums!” The beginning was rather slow and boring, but this heartwarming story made me realize how much I love my home; my family. And the only thing I was attracted to  is its depiction of the Victorian ideal of a happy warm home. “When things go well, the cricket on the hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow.” __The cricket in this book is the harbinger of the home of Mr. John Peerybingle, a c 4.5/5 “Hark, how the cricket joins the music with its chrip, chrip, chrip; and how the kettle hums!” The beginning was rather slow and boring, but this heartwarming story made me realize how much I love my home; my family. And the only thing I was attracted to  is its depiction of the Victorian ideal of a happy warm home. “When things go well, the cricket on the hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow.” __The cricket in this book is the harbinger of the home of Mr. John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his young wife Dot, their baby boy and their nanny Tilly Slowboy. A cricket chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family. I enjoyed this book and I really liked the ending.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    This averaged out to 3 stars for me. The beginning was rather slow,but I realize it's not for my age, my kids are too old and I don't have grandchildren to read it to. This story isn't so much about the actual cricket, but more like the cricket is a fairy. It does start with it--when things are happy, it chirps. It centers on a couple who are very much in love despite their age difference, John and Dot Peerybingle and their awkward maid who manages to bump the poor baby's head in too many places. This averaged out to 3 stars for me. The beginning was rather slow,but I realize it's not for my age, my kids are too old and I don't have grandchildren to read it to. This story isn't so much about the actual cricket, but more like the cricket is a fairy. It does start with it--when things are happy, it chirps. It centers on a couple who are very much in love despite their age difference, John and Dot Peerybingle and their awkward maid who manages to bump the poor baby's head in too many places. There are a group of other characters, mostly good but one rather nasty fellow. But fear not, this is a tale for children at Christmas, but what might happen to make this better is better left for you to discover on your own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tam May

    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.

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