Now your child can enjoy The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens as a Michael Clay Thompson language-illustrated classic. The novel is reproduced in its entirety and includes Michael’s “language illustrations”—close-ups of poetic techniques, four-level analyses of interesting grammar, and comments about writing strategies. Challenging vocabulary is defined at the bottom of each page.
The Cricket on the Hearth is a short “Christmas story’” published in December 1845. Dickens described the novel as “quiet and domestic…innocent and pretty.” It is subdivided into chapters, called “Chirps,” similar to the “Quarters” of The Chimes: A Goblin Story.
The Cricket on the Hearth was popular when it was first published as a book, and also as a play, about the ideal Victorian family and home. In the story, John Peerybingle, a slow but honest carrier, lives with his young wife Dot, their baby boy, and their nursemaid Tilly Slowboy. A cricket chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the family. One day a mysterious elderly stranger comes to visit and takes up lodging at Peerybingle’s house for a few days. The plot becomes a complex love story that is resolved in time for a festive Christmas.