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The Cricket on the Hearth (full title: 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). The original illustrations were by Daniel Maclise, John Leech, Richard Doyle, Clarkson Stanfield and Edward Landseer.

Dickens began writing the book around October 17 and had finished it by December 1. Like all of Dickens' Christmas books, it was immediately published in book form, not as a serial. It was first published on December 20 by Bradbury and Evans.[1] Dickens described the novel as "quiet and domestic .. innocent and pretty."[1]

John Peerybingle, a carrier, lives with his wife Dot (who is much younger than he), their baby, their nanny Tilly Slowboy, and a mysterious old stranger with a long white beard. A cricket constantly chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family. But what will happen when John thinks that Dot is having an affair with their lodger?

1967 Christmas Special

In 1967, Rankin-Bass (the team who brought you "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman") adapted this Dickens' Christmas Tale into an animated hour-long holiday special. Featuring the voices of Danny and Marlo Thomas, Ed Ames, Abbe Lane, Hans Conried, The Norman Luboff Choir and Roddy McDowall as the Cricket. 

Reader's Reviews


Well, I didn't much enjoy this, and didn't think it was very good. Certainly, it was nowhere near as good as A Christmas Carol, and just didn't hit the mark with me. I don't think it is quite as bad as The Times review, which said that it was, "a twaddling manifestation of silliness almost from the first page to the last", but it wasn't far off!


Please add your review here.

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 14+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 12+

A cricket chirps, and acts as a sort of guardian angel.

Some fairies come out at one point.

If you like this you might like

  • Other books by Charles Dickens

External Links

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The Cricket on the Hearth.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Paul Schlicke, Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens, OUP, 1999. ISBN 0-19-866253-x

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