I went out to dinner with friends this evening (standing monthly get-together), so I am sneaking my Advent book in under the wire -- which is hilariously ironic, considering that I bragged to one of those very friends that I had been listing Advent books for two whole days without a gap!
Whatever. I had a great time tonight -- thanks, ladies!
Today's Advent book is The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens. This novella is one of Dickens's five Christmas stories (the most famous, of course, being A Christmas Carol). I always liked this one, which centers on a poor toymaker and his blind daughter. The plot is very Dickensian -- so you should keep that in mind; you will encounter lots of conniving trickery and misunderstanding on the way to forgiveness and redemption. Of course the miser sees the error of his ways at Christmas time, and true love conquers all -- except for the blind girl. The Victorians wouldn't have stood for that.
This would be a great story to be read aloud (the best way to read any Dickens); I don't know if it will hold the interest of very young children, but the rest of the family will love it.