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All Creatures Great and Small & All Things Bright and Beautiful (All Creatures Great and Small #1-4)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  10,633 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
Twenty-five years ago, a volume of memoirs by an unknown Scottish veterinarian was first published--All Creatures Great and Small. Within a year, the book had become recognized as a masterpiece. It went on to sell millions of copies and began the marvelous series of books, beloved of readers all over the world, which have so far sold over 20 million copies in English alon ...more
Hardcover, 820 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Mjf Books (first published 1972)
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Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently paid a nostalgic return journey to fictional Darrowby in Yorkshire, England, to read the warm, affectionate, earthy, hilarious memoirs of Dr. James Herriot, veterinary surgeon (circa mid 1930s -- 1970s). I couldn't put them down, nor could I read anything else until I'd consumed the entire series. Love his courtship with Helen, his partnership with Sigfried and Tristan, his convivial embrace of his warped fellowman, and his service to hairy critters everywhere. (Must add I'm also fond ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beatuiful edition of two books. I recently bought it because my original books have fallen to pieces from multiple readings over the years. I am cutting and pasting my original review.

This is an old favorite that I've read countless times. What do I like about it? Let me count the ways.

First of all, I like the way Herriot (or Alf Wight, if you like) turns a phrase. His use of absurd imagery to create a comical effect is superb. I found myself re-reading certain paragraphs just because
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first scene caught my attention right off. He's saying, they never tell you about this in school, then he describes the scene he's in: its a dark, winter night, he's got his arm inside of a cow up to the elbow trying to maneuver the calf inside her. He's stripped to the waist, lying on the ground as the cow is and the only light is the lamp that the farmer is holding. That got my attention. This entire book is of one who lucks out and lands a great job and then discovers that he loves his jo ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dana-s-top-favs
My ABSOLUTE fave!!
Tamela Rich
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, animals, memoir
I read the series as a teen, watched the PBS series whenever it ran and mourned when Herriot died. I even named one of my sons Tristan in part because I loved that character so much.

Herriot's an insightful observer of human nature and the perfect foil for the eccentrics in his rural community. His career coincided with all manner of scientific advances that competed with folk remedies and superstition in the minds of the people.

I've spent a small fortune on my dogs and cats so it's interesting
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every few years I read these stories again and I always enjoy them as much as I did the first time. James Herriot(Alf White such an interesting window into a unique time and place. I have always wondered if he was a naturally gifted writer or if he had a really good editor. Either way, these stories are so well-written that I enjoyed them although I would not say I am an animal-lover. I am an animal respecter, and I certainly believe we have responsibilit ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this series of books. When I first read them in high school I wanted to move to Scotland and become a country veterinarian. I reread them again summer, and fell in love with them all over again. When James Herriot talks about how much he loves his job, driving around the country lanes with the windows down on a beautiful day, or taking his lunch breaks lying on his back in the grass staring up at the clouds in the sky, you wonder how you can stand another day of working in an office buil ...more
Vicki Jaeger
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was great to settle in with an old friend. I read this series over & over in my childhood years, up through high school. James Herriot is why I wanted to be a vet--until I came up against chemistry, that is! I LOVELOVELOVE this entire series. His warmth, intuitive descriptions of his animal patients and their humans, and genuine delight of life are a wonderful gift to the world. I'm reviewing all the books in this series the same way, so you only have to read this review once! ; )
Dianne Happel DiFrisco
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
James Herriot (Dr. White) is on my top ten list of authors. I had no interest in cow farming or in Yorkshire England, but he took me there as an arm chair traveler. Then I actually traveled there, saw the surgery, Skeldale house, funky blue car, fields, cows and sheep (their descents). What a thrill!
Emily Becker
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I often tell myself not to give a book 5 stars because, well, I know I can be a little too exuberant at times. Not this time. Mr Herriot's writing skills are only matched by his skills as a vet, which is blatantly obvious in this delightful collection of tales. This book is tear-jerking from laughter and sentiment, and an impeccable balance of all the features found in the very best of memoirs. They are set in a time and place I have never experienced and yet I can practically smell the rolling ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am not an animal person. Our family has a cat because my kids paid me $100. Actually, I am a little surprised with myself that I actually read a book about a vet in the 1930s in England. After reading Mr. Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small", I still don't like animals. But, I do like Mr. Herriot. I like his "patient" relationship with his employer. I like his appreciation of the beauty around him. I like his candor and frankness is his writing. I like that he has weaknesses and strengths ...more
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I LOVE HERRIOT'S STORIES! I read all 4 of these books (including Wise and Wonderful and The Lord God Made Them All). Herriot's accounts of being a country vet in the 1940s are earthy and fascinating - I remember a scene where a sheep is trying to give birth to twins and Herriot has his sleeve rolled up and his arm inside the sheep trying to separate the tangled legs and bodies to bring the lambs into the world, alive ... powerful stuff. Many of the cat and dog stories are hysterically funny and ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anglophiles, animal lovers, lovers of the simple life
Recommended to Janet by: Nita Gillham
I love all of James Herriot's books. They are some of my all-time favorites that I read again and again. Herriot is one of the few authors that makes me laugh out loud. I can pick up one of his books and open it to any page and just start reading for the sheer enjoyment of his writing style. Highly recommended for anyone and everyone, especially anglophiles, animal lovers, and people who value rural pastoral settings and the simple life.
Genevieve's Human
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that feels happy to read. I wouldn't say that the plot or the protagonist (the reminiscences or the author, depending on how fictionalized you view the stories) are unmitigatedly happy, but every time I picked it up, it made me feel better about the world. Such books are few and far between, and I treasure them.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I usually eschew anything which might be considered heart-warming. It's an allergy, I think. Anyway, I love these books. Mostly because Herriot includes just enough of the stupid and gross to keep the reader for drowning in a bucket of twee. Rural vet is not for the squeamish.
Kelsey Hoppman
I really enjoyed the clever, very well written stories in these two volumes. Had me laughing out-loud at parts. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of language speckled throughout the stories, so readers beware. Overall though, a very engaging read.
Grete Kalda
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book, brought a smile to my face every time I picked it up. A heartwarming book!
T. Giachetti
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best read when you need a break from the horrors of life in the city. Follow along with country vet and experience humor, empathy , compassion, and mostly thankfulness .and
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the author's lyrical style. His stories are charming, strung together like pearls on a string- very sweet
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just had to re read this book. It was great 25 years ago and more so today! A true classic.
Judy Packard
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed these stories with a touch of humor.
Conchita Matson
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will read anything by James Herriot over and over.
Wonderful stories that transport you to a time forgotten which you wish you had lived in
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm a little late to the table with this one and I actually owned several of his books at one time. You see I had wanted to become a veterinarian at one time. It was my lifelong dream from the time I was little. I always knew what I was supposed to do with my life...but it didn't happen. Something always got in the way as if the fates were opposed to it. So, the books were gifts but I didn't want to read about the career of someone who was doing what I had dreamt of all my life. After years and ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Really fun. It makes me want to be a vet all over again, as if I were seven years old again. But it's so interesting to hear about the animal case studies and how he solved the malady, etc...Plus he paints such delightful pictures of the human clients he meets! The only thing that keeps this from being great literature is that the messages behind each little vignette are repeated. I wonder if he originally wrote them as installments in a newspaper as a columnist?
Сибин Майналовски
Всичките книги на този британски ветеринар са написани с такава огромна любов към животните и стопаните им, че когато ги прочетеш (и после пак, и пак, и пак...) неволно започваш да се замисляш защо омразата към живите същества още не се наказва от закона... Имам тези книги от 80-те години на миналия век и продължавам да ги препрочитам... колкото да си възвърна вярата в хората и да си въобразя поне за миг, че не всички са изверги като Д. Р. (дълга история...). Ако можех, щях да ѝ дам 10 звезди.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Twenty -five years ago, a volume of memiors by an unknown Scottish veterinarian was first published- All Creatures Great and Small. Within a year, the book had become recognized as a masterpiece. The pages are full of humour, warmth, pathos, drama and James Herriot's unique and richly justified love of life as he journeys across the Yorkshire dales. With his passion and love for his fellow creatures. Makes this book a must read.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great bedside book. Each chapter is a separate story so you can read a little and not feel compelled to finish the book in one sitting to find out how it ends. It's a pretty simple, wholesome book with some nice humor. I've read the whole series and I reread it now when I can't sleep. It sets my mind back on a good track and it's still enjoyable after multiple readings, but I can usually put it down and get back to sleep in 15 minutes.
Sean Chambers ray
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read some of these books in braille and some of these books on cassette. I just love animal books and it was really need to hear the stories of a veterinary practice and how he handled each of his clients and patients. I wish more vets would be like that today, but instead a lot of them are in it for the money only. We needed James Harriet to be in the present, that's for sure. It seemed like there were a lot of good adventures, and he made all of the characters come to life.
Bailey Jane
Nov 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers, teenage avid readers, adults, veterinarians, those who enjoy traveling
I read this book last year and thought it was really entertaining, but sometimes a little too long and drawn out. I would like to read it again now that I'm living on an island and not in downtown St. Louis. Maybe I'd appreciate a more laid-back novel. The main character is affable, relatable, humorous, and his veterinary adventures are definitely worth reading. This is a great book to read any time of the year. The descriptions of nature will be appreciated by anyone in any climate. :-)
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This, and the rest of the Herriot series, passes the ultimate test: books I have turned to (again and again) during the blackest days of beloved friends' or family members' death.

Short stories for a stressed out short attention span.. sweetness but not sickeningly so.. And laugh-out-loud funny even in the worst pits of loneliness and loss.

Thank you, James Herriot.
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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
More about James Herriot

Other Books in the Series

All Creatures Great and Small (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • All Creatures Great and Small
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (All Creatures Great and Small)