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All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor

(All Creatures Great and Small #1-2)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  127,128 ratings  ·  4,846 reviews
The classic multimillion copy bestseller

Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.

For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot's marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, He
Paperback, 442 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1972)
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Laura It is the first, and can definitely be read as a standalone (no cliffhangers), but you will probably want to read the next one.

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 ·  127,128 ratings  ·  4,846 reviews

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Jason Koivu
Oh dear heavens, a cow is having a difficult birth! A cat is sick! The local lord's thoroughbred has skinned its knee! To live in a world where these are your most worrisome worries is to live in the world of James Herriot, the pen name of Alf Wight, the real-life mid-20th century country vet of the Yorkshire Dales in northern England.

Having said that, Herriot's stories wouldn't be as ragingly popular as they have been if they were nothing but fluff. No, for a bunch of "animal tales" there's a
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meg by: my friend Janet
I have this problem--an addiction, really--called BOOKS. I start reading one and I usually can't stop until I realize that awful smell is... ME!... or my kids do that incessant-tapping-on-my-shoulder thing to ask if dinnertime will be occurring before bedtime... (I know, I know. Probably shouldn't have put that in print. Now CPS is gonna come after me.)

Point being: This book was NOT like that. I could read one chapter each night, then put it down without my brain going all... twitchy (those of y
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's semi-astonishing that I've been married to a veterinarian for a year and a half, which followed a year and nine months of dating/engagement, in which time I went on many emergency calls with her to treat sick horses (and the occasional goat), adopted a dog and a second cat to go with the first one my dearly beloved already owned, and various and other sundry proximity-to-a-vet type stuff has gone down AND YET only now have I finally said to myself, "Hunh, I should read that James Herriot gu ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars. I adored this book and swallowed it whole when I first read it back in the day, and grabbed the three sequels as soon as I could lay my hands on them. All four of these old paperback books still have a place of honor on my downstairs bookshelf, wherein reside all manner of classics, old SF and fantasy, ancient English lit textbooks, and other old books. It's quite the massive collection - a lifetime's worth of books that have been lovingly and thoughtfully - or sometimes not - collect ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a long review because it has been years since I read this book; however, it was and still is one of my favorite books. His love for all creatures enhanced my love for them and his stories are timeless. It is a must read for anyone who loves animals and a good read for those interested in a very well-told tale.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking a genuinely hilarious read
All Creatures Great and Small is one of the funniest books I've read in my life, with humor that I think would appeal to a wide audience. I usually steer clear of animal-themed stories because they tend to be maudlin, but All Creatures Great and Small isn't that kind of animal book. Herriot wrote about his most memorable, strange adventures as a large-animal veterinarian who visited various farms to handle all manner of cases, at all hours of day and night.

I knew absolutely nothing about large-
Debbie Zapata
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturdaymx
October 14, 2019
I have just finished reading and as expected, I have nothing much to add to my review. Except that I enjoyed it just as much as ever!

October 5, 2019
I am starting my second 'official' reading of this book but it is actually the umpty-second time I've opened it up to escape for a time to James Herriot's wonderful world. I very greatly doubt i will have anything different to say when I finish this go-round. The reason I am diving into the Yorkshire Dales again is that I just finis

A lighthearted and cozy memoir of the life of a veterinarian set in rural northern England in the historic county of Yorkshire.

I read this long ago, and had added it to my list of books I’d loved at one point in my life and wanted to re-read. I think I requested that my library get a copy a year ago, and I finally got this just as I was just beginning another book about all manner of animals, My Family and Other Animals which takes place slightly before this first book of Herriot’s All Creature
So I have absolutely loved loved loved James Herriot's (or should I perhaps say Alfred Wight's) All Creatures Great and Small ever since I first read this book (which is actually an omnibus and consists of If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet) at the age of twelve (in the autumn of 1978, and thus, All Creatures Great ands Small was in fact one of the first longer novels I read entirely in English, with a dictionary in hand of course, and aside from my immense reading pleasure ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
There are no negatives in this book. When I first read it (them as I read Herriot's vet stories one book after another)I would read them late at night in bed after my wife had gone to sleep. Frequently I'd be laughing silently, but laughing so hard I'd shake the bed. Now and again I'd look over and see her just looking at me having been awakened by my convulsions of mirth. Then I'd end up reading aloud for hours...costing us both much needed rest. ...more
Tom Mathews
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of animals and humor
I've read a lot of James Herriot's stories over my life but haven't read this first volume of his beloved series of memoirs. It is delightful, touching and often knee-slappingly funny. I highly recommend it.
FYI: The audiorecording of the book is narrated by Christopher Timothy, the actor who played Herriot on the BBC series based on the books.
Philip Allan
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first omnibus edition of three covering the memoirs of James Herriot, a newly qualified Scottish vet who began practicing in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s and never left. It is a charming, self-deprecating and frequently funny read. It also opens a window into a lost world on the edge of change as agriculture moved steadily from a family concern, dominated by the horse, towards its more industrial future.

The main star of the piece is the landscape - the incomparably beautiful Dale

‘If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.’

This is at least the third time I’ve read this memoir of the famous veterinarian, who began his life as a veterinarian in rural northern England’s Yorkshire, but this time I listened to the new audiobook, which was narrated by Nicholas Ralph, “star of the new Masterpiece series,” which I loved even more.

’No animal is a better judge of comfort than a cat and they were just
I think most members will know of James Herriot, even if they haven't read any of his books. I first read them all many years ago and delighted in the many ups and downs of a country vet's life back in the days before and after WWii. Then came the TV series followed by DVDs to collect. The name of James Herriot became a household name. His books were loved not just here in England but in many other countries also. James Herriot as a country vet, dealt with the local sick farm animals and also wi ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of animals, lover of everyday humor in storytelling, people in the veterinary field
As a future veterinarian growing up, I was told by many people to read this book. It is apparently considered a rite of passage for those who want to enter the veterinary field. Finally I did read it when I was in my junior year of college before vet school. It was wonderful. Herriot is a hilarious,heart-warming and talented author. He writes with an ease that is addictive to read. He manages to imbue every chapter with scenes that are laugh out loud funny, but also scenes that will bring tears ...more
James Herriot's books are, for me, the ultimate in comfort books. Which is odd, it occurred to me while listening to this audiobook; there's blood and gore and uterine explorations and knackerings and death and cruelty… There is casual mention of deeds and practices which would turn PETA's collective hair white. But I've been reading these books since I was about ten. (Which, considering the language, is surprising. Them Yorkshire farmers were salty, mind.) And then there was the wonderful tv se ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad to have discovered this classic on audio from OverDrive because its size may have scared me off otherwise. James Herriot is a wonderful story teller. A delightful true tale of James' beginnings as a veterinary surgeon in Yorkshire in the 1930s. His doubts about his early abilities, his probably bi-polar boss, and the antics of the boss' brother and the other citizens provide a lot of comic relief. The many farm animals he treated in addition to a few dogs were funny as well as heartw ...more
Stephen Franks
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: james-herriot
Marvellous gritty and yet gentle tale of a vet's life in a countryside that is as alien to him as another planet. Herriot's descriptions of the bucolic charm of the Yorkshire dales, farmers and old ladies with yappy dogs is second to none. He makes the landscape, people and animals come alive and describes in some gut-wrenching scenes, their losses too. It's about time I revisited this series of books! ...more
This book, the first in a series of memoirs by a Yorkshire country vet, is one of my favorite books ever. I read the whole set repeatedly throughout my childhood and, even now, I reread them every year or two. They are amazing, and this one is on sale for Kindle right now at $1.99. If you've never read James Herriot, please, please get a copy and try it on. It's the perfect thing for any animal lover. Get a copy here. ...more
Kellyn Roth
Nothing has ever been as charming, amusing, and almost magical as this series. The setting, the era, the writing style, the stories ... just lovely. I'd recommend it to any lover of animals, England, or the country. ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some authors are natural born storytellers -- and James Herriot is quite possibly the greatest one of all. His adventures as a young vet among the colorful and captivating English countryside mingle with the hilarious and oftentimes ridiculous antics of his boss, Siegfried Farnon, and Sigfried's younger "useless" brother Tristan. Herriot makes you laugh until you cry in one chapter, and then cry for real in another, as he explores the intricacies of human nature, their affection for animals, and ...more
All Creatures Great and Small was recommended to me by my mother and my book club. It took me awhile to get around to reading it because I was afraid it would be boring, but once I read it I discovered I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, the pacing of the story is relaxed, sometimes so relaxed I fell asleep reading it at night, hence the 4 star rating, but it's the colorful characters and stories that range from sweet to sad to hysterically funny that make this book worthwhile and keep you tur ...more
Kathryn in FL

This classic is timeless to me. I believe this is my third time experiencing it. When it was initially released, my mother would read a chapter during dinner meal. As our family were animal lovers and my mother was of English heritage, we all found it quite amusing. My favorite part was learning about farm animals and of course the chapters on dogs. Later at age 13?, I read it myself and related much more to the friendships highlighted in the story. This time around, I
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was five, I wanted to be an artist. I was crazy about drawing. When I wasn't fighting with my sibs over something, you'd likely find me holed away, either reading or drawing. My dad was an artist, you see. Sure, running that liquor store in the ghetto was what paid the bills, but it was firmly stamped in my six-year-old mind that he was meant for a higher calling. I mean, look at the gallon of milk he painted on the side of the store. Was it not the perfect rendering of a gallon of milk? ...more
I have loved the stories by James Herriot since I first started reading them in middle school. I enjoyed the television show as well back in the day. I'm delighted that Masterpiece is starting a new series on January 10, 2021. I bought season one online immediately and will enjoy each episode as it posts each week.

I decided before watching the series I needed to revisit the books as well. My reading plan for 2021 did not involve a jaunt into James Herriot, but that's the joy of my "I read what
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biog, britain, animals, humor, 1970s
Was bemused by cataloging question - should we shelve this with the other vet book, over in the 636 section, or stick it with the biographies.

Absolute great series. Ideal "recommend-er" for small town rural county libraries. One of the basics for "readers advisors"
"Readers' advisory (sometimes spelled readers advisory or reader's advisory) is a service which involves suggesting fiction and nonfiction titles to a reader through direct or indirect means. Thi
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2019-read, classic
I remember watching the series on Monsterpiece theatre many years ago, and was entranced by the bucolic countryside and the many personalities of the farmers needing veterinary services.
I really enjoyed this first memoir, in which James was hired on by Siegfried Farnon (how did that man ever keep his business afloat??) and began treating countless cows, pigs and horses. And even a pampered dog from whom James received letters.
I was not surprised by the reticence and initial suspicion aroused b
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I should start with a warning: this book contains some graphic explanations of animal anatomy and veterinary procedures that I would have preferred be left ignorant about, however the charming descriptions of idyllic country life and their inhabitants more than make up for it.

I was surprised at how funny this book is; I should have read it years ago! My favourite episodes involve Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo. I’d recommend the audio version narrated by Christopher Timothy who does an excellent
Third reading. This book is my go-to therapy book for when I want a joy-filled, loveable, heart-warming story.

Previous review:

Loved, loved, loved this book. Definitely a classic for me.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would "wholesome."

A young man, fresh out of college, starts working as a veterinarian assistant in rural England. His boss is eccentric; his clients are skeptical as to what he is capable of. This book reads like a collection of short stories, humorous anecdotes of village life with a myriad of characters - kind and grumpy, honest and shady, smart and dumb - humanity in all its variety. The relationship between people and animals was also shown - f
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James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and television adaptations.

In 1939, at the age of 23, he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow

Other books in the series

All Creatures Great and Small (8 books)
  • If Only They Could Talk
  • It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet
  • Let Sleeping Vets Lie
  • Vet in Harness
  • Vets Might Fly
  • Vet in a Spin
  • The Lord God Made Them All
  • Every Living Thing  (All Creatures Great and Small, #8)

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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” 753 likes
“I don't think he ever gave a thought to other people's opinions, which was just as well because they were often unkind” 24 likes
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