Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “All Creatures Great and Small” as Want to Read:
All Creatures Great and Small
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

All Creatures Great and Small

(All Creatures Great and Small #1-2)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  111,067 ratings  ·  3,799 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, 448 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1972)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  111,067 ratings  ·  3,799 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of All Creatures Great and Small
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.
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
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-
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
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.
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.
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, I ...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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Animal lovers and anglophiles
Shelves: memoir-biography
Most people know by now that James Herriot wrote about his life as a country vet in the 1930s and ‘40s. I strongly recommend this memoir to every Anglophile and animal lover. The stories are hilarious in some parts and brought me to tears in others. It is books like these that teach me to appreciate all the little things around us.
When my children were small, we read and re-read the children’s versions of the Herriot books. We all loved them, our son especially. Herriot’s descriptions of Yorksh
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
This book is well, spectacular, in a normal day way. James Herriot had a way of showing how little annoying, silly, and/or normal everyday events are truly remarkable. This book has those fuuny moments, embarrasing moments with those sweet ones that can only be called miracles.

I have really enjoyed this book and I recomend it to everyone, whether you like animals or not (This one is different from other animal stories, because its not only about animals, but about a world of people with animals
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
Bevan Lewis
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those of a certain age will remember the popularity of these books and the spinoff TV series. In retrospect it seemed strange that the gruelling life of a vet in an isolated part of Yorkshire in the 1930s could be an international bestseller. I recently happened across mention of James Herriot and thought I would engage in some nostalgia.
This book is a model of memoir. I now appreciate more than in my youth why these books were so popular. Although the tales are entertaining Herriot's writing is
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Christopher Timothy

This is the book that launched a successful series of memoirs of a Yorkshire country vet in the years before World War II. I am definitely *not* an animal person but Herriot’s reminiscences of his early efforts to build a practice were delightful, if a bit repetitious.

This is a re-read for me. I first read it back in the early 1970s when it was a fairly new book. I probably bought it as a “book-club” selection from Book of the Month or Literary Guild or so
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, x2019-read
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
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is the autobiography of a veterinarian in England in 1937. The Great Depression had gripped the world and Hitler was rising to power in nearby Germany.
Despites these dire circumstances, the book shows lots of tremendous humor. love for animals and compassion for the fellow man.
One chapter really stood out and was worthy of Charles Dickens, himself. An elderly, poor man had to put his dog down and the veterinarian did it as painless as possible as the two men bonded together- -a BRILLAN
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I wasn't sure that I would like James Herriot's works when I first came across them. A collection of animal stories by a country vet, I thought, but how wrong I was. I was well and truly engrossed the minute I started. His tales are so much more than that! They are beautifully crafted stories that are funny, touching, and quite simply, likeable.

What makes his memoirs truly remarkable are the vivid pictures he paints of the Yorkshire Dales, his self-depracation and the evident love and respect he
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: britain, biog, 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
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
OK, I admit it. More than once as I was reading this collection, the words of Kramer (yes, that Kramer) popped into my head: “Oh, I’ll take a vet over an MD any day. They’ve got to be able to cure a lizard, a chicken, a pig, a frog—all on the same day.”

And for more than 50 years, in the Yorkshire Dales of northern England, that’s exactly what James Herriot did. (Well, maybe not the frogs. But pigs and cows and sheep and horses and dogs, yes.) All Creatures Great and Small is the first in his lo
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I remember listening to the audiobook of this as a child on a long car ride, and realized the other day I had never read the books. The stories, by turns tender and hilarious, of a country vet in pre-WWII Yorkshire are so well written. Herriot has a gift for describing the rolling countryside, the ramshackle barns and the animals that make you feel as though you are there. Some of the stories never really go anywhere and you wonder, Why is this included? But most of them are absolutel
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My Father
  • James Herriot: The Life of a Country Vet
  • With All Your Heart: Orienting Your Mind, Desires, and Will Toward Christ
  • The Hustons
  • If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits?
  • The Black West: A Documentary and Pictorial History of the African American Role in the Westward Expansion of the United States
  • The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank
  • My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1)
  • The Yorkshire Vet: In The Footsteps of Herriot (Official memoir from the star of The Yorkshire Vet TV show)
  • The Whitby Child (The Whitby Witches, #3)
  • The Art of Falling (Oceanside High, #1)
  • A Small House in Crete: The Story of finding and renovating a small stone house in a village on the greek island of Crete
  • SONS OF KOLCHAK: A company commander during the Vietnam Tet Offensive of 1968 tells the story of his men's raw courage and valor.
  • A Little House Picture Book Treasury: Six Stories of Life on the Prairie
  • La fragilidad de las panteras
  • A Warlock in Whitby (The Whitby Witches, #2)
  • Everybody Says Meow
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
See similar books…
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)

News & Interviews

Kate Stayman-London has watched the reality dating show The Bachelor (and its eventual Bachelorette spin-off) since it first started airing in 2002...
18 likes · 6 comments
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” 727 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” 23 likes
More quotes…