The holidays are upon us, and this year Audible is very happy to present to our members one of Charles Dickens’ most popular Christmas stories, The Cricket on the Hearth. This holiday classic (original subtitle: “A Fairy Tale of Home”) tells the innocent, picturesque, and charming story of a poor family and their would-be guardian angel; in short, a delightful vision of Victorian Christmas. As always, a great story calls for a great voice, so we’ve brought in legendary actor and record-breaking Audie and Grammy award-winning narrator Jim Dale (The Night Circus). Happy holidays and happy listening!
Public Domain (P)2013 Audible Inc.
I had not heard of this story until this week. It is part of a series of Christmas stories told by Charles Dickens that includes A Christmas Carol. It is very well read by Jim Dale, of lasting Harry Potter fame.
The Cricket on the Hearth is very moving and quite touching.
Some women of the modern era wonder how their counterparts of earlier days were able to be "traditional" housewives looking after hearth and home. I believe this story provides some great insight into the relationships of wives and husbands that is worth attending to, if only for the understanding.
Thank you for the wonderful gift Audible! I love being a member!! Jim Dale is AMAZING. If you had him read the phone book, I would pay a lot of money to download it. I appreciate that it was said, "Performed by Jim Dale." He doesn't just read the story, each time he reads, it's a masterful performance!
Dickens+Jim Dale=A Very Merry Christmas for me. Thank you again!
I prefer the audio edition because of the power of the spoken word to draw the listener into the story. Jim Dale captures the tone and accents of people who lived in Englans around Dickens' time the way a reader could hardly imagine.
Charles Dickens gives us glimpses of Victorian England filled with vivid, compelling characters. He mixes in humor, misfortune, fairies, a little mystery and a big surprise.
I loved the character of the carrier, John Peerybingle, whose heart was so full of love.
I laughed and even she'd a few tears.
I would like to thank the people at Audible for such a lovely Christmas gift.
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.
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.)
I love Dickens amazing use of language.
When the stranger's identity is revealed is one of the most memorable moments.
Jim Dale is one of my favorite performers. He puts such energy and passion into his performances. His voices are perfect for each character and even the inanimate objects.
Love and friendship conquer all.
I recommend this to everyone. For Dickens fans, it is a must listen.
St. Louis, Missouri
I know; two years ago it was a Christmas gift by Audible to us, their loyal listeners. But I think it goes deeper than that, and even without the provenance of the recording—especially created by Audible (God bless them every one)—there are other very good reasons for mistaking this story, which takes place in January, for a Yuletide tale.
Near parallels to A Christmas Carol abound. The blind adult daughter of the downtrodden toymaker comes about as close to Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit as Dickens could get without violating his own copyright. The toymaker’s boss who does all that downtrodding doesn't make faces at children in the street like Scrooge, but only because his toys do that job for him in the privacy of their nurseries. And, at the risk of spoiling it for someone who hasn’t listened yet, this taskmaster’s change of heart at the end is definitely Scrooge-like and perhaps even more affecting because he achieves it through natural means, without the visitation of spirits and all those flights through time and space. As in Christmas Carol, the standard Dickens themes are here: the worship of money by those who have it and the virtue and good nature of those who don’t. And so is his unerring sense of humor, which leavens the whole and makes what, in lesser hands, would be a dour morality tale, into a gem of short fiction.
Nevertheless, the story takes place in January.
That said, I wish I had listened to the gift earlier because it really is just that, a gift. The story, the writing—ah, Dickens, that Master wordsmith—and the performance by Jim Dale are simply pitch-perfect. The close parallels to Christmas Carol (written two years previously) don’t detract from our delight. Rather, the effect is something like the pleasure you might experienced upon first hearing Brubeck’s “Time Further Out”: the same musical ideas as “Time Out” but expressed in fresh figures (we all know how “Blue Rondo a la Turk” ends; we all know Tiny Tim will die, but we don’t know what the bronzed young man was doing in private with our hero’s young wife in the stock room).
There. Now you have to listen.
Willy Wonka of it
This was a free Audiobook and that fact (plus the awesome narration by Jim Dale) kept me listening. The book is written in a bit of an older style of English, so that and the meandering nature of the story makes it a bit hard to follow (especially in the beginning).
I'm glad I kept with it though, as once things got rolling and the REAL meat of the story kicked in it proved to be a great tale.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I'm a big Dickens fan, having read just about every work available. I even appreciated the feel and look of the HBO critically acclaimed series "The Wire" - its dark production look and cinematic street level shots were repeatedly referred to as "Dickensian". I know those aspects made that show my favorite show of all time and has been touted by top critics as "the best show in the history of television". As for Dickens, his books and any resulting film versions are always masterpieces. Yet, this one didn't quite get it for me. Maybe I'm too jaded (a cricket and a teapot deep in a convo?) Or not jaded enough (a cricket and a teapot deep in a convo?) 😄. I guess every song in a artist's repertoire doesn't make the charts at "#1 with a Bullet". Criticizing this book would be like calling a Michael Jackson album a dud because it only sold 5 million copies instead of its predecessor's 10 million units. The narrator is in his usual great form which goes a long way towards helping out this story. But the book was FREE so maybe I should just count my blessings. A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYBODY! A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE WORLD! 🎄🎍🎁🎉🎅
I love Dickens, and I love a bargain, so when Audible offered me a Jim Dale reading of this story free as a Christmas thank you, I jumped at it . . . Perfect listening for the week before C'mas vacation, thought I.
Well. It's one weird little story. It opens with a long "conversation" between the cricket on the hearth and the tea kettle. Honest. Then we meet the family who lives in the house: little Dot (whose real name is Mary) ad her (in modern eyes, creepily) older husband. . . . and, luckily, Tilly Slowboy the mentally deficient housemaid and the baby, about both of whom we get some great Dickens humor to leaven the schmaltz that drips from this little offering. There is an evil(ish) toy manufacturer, a saintly father, an angelic blind girl, a nearly undeveloped fiancee, a missing brother. . . lots of spirits of family and goodness and the like. Still, towards the ends Dickens manages to wring the old heartstrings, as he usually does, but I did miss the wry humor and control of his best writing (Great Expectations; Nicholas Nickleby; Christmas Carol). Not a good introduction to his work, but it was interesting to hear anyway.
Jim Dale did a nice job with the reading, and I am grateful for the gift, I should add.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
Who hasn't heard of Charles Dickens (1812-1870)? Who hasn't read or seen an adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" (1843), "Oliver Twist" (1837), or "David Copperfield" (1849)? Sometimes it seems that half of the Disney empire is built on Dickens.
"The Cricket on the Hearth" (1845) is a lesser known Christmas novella. The Cricket is the guardian angel of John Peerybingle and his much-younger wife, Dot and their young son; and their friends and neighbors. Tackleton, a cranky old toy maker disrupts the sweet working class life of the Peerybingles - but perhaps not intentionally. The story was new to me, and I liked not knowing the ending. I liked the listen on the drive to and from Mom's house I for Christmas dinner.
Jim Dale was a good pick for the unnamed narrator. Who was the narrator? Some say Dickens meant it to be the Peerybingle's son, or neighbor blind Bertha Plummer. I like to think it was the Cricket.
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