All Creatures Great and Small Book Cover All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot
St. Martins Griffon

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, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.

In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot's periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot's recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.

James Herriot's memoirs have sold 80 million copies worldwide, and continue to delight and entertain readers of all ages.
All Creatures Great and Small

I have always heard how great a book this was, but I never found time to read it. I have now, thank goodness, corrected that error. If you are an animal lover, then you will also love this book. It is a biography about James Herriot, a newly-graduated veterinary student who gets his first job in the English countryside.

James Alfred Wight, aka James Herriot, started his veterinary practice in the Yorkshire countryside in 1940. The author takes liberty with the town name and date that he started his apprenticeship, but this does nothing to distract from the beauty of his writing. Not only does he give amusing accounts of the animals that he tended to, but he also gives great descriptions of the farmers, tavern keepers, and local gentry. A character that I enjoyed was Herriot’s boss Seigfried Farnon M.R.C.V.S. He is described as an easy-going person who takes one day at a time but whose mood can change very quickly when angered. The main source of Seigfried’s anger is his brother, Tristan. Tristan has more of a “joie de vivre” attitude towards his education (he failed to pass some classes) and life in general. Anyone who has siblings will identify with these brothers’ attitude towards each other.

The only thing that bothered me about this book were the technical terms. Fortunately, by the end of the book I had a fairly good idea about the tools of his trade and the animal diseases mentioned. These are things that a lay person would have trouble understanding, but Herriot does an adequate job of giving the reader information that anyone would be able to understand.  It may distract some people from reading this book,  but I eventually grew to understand these terms without them becoming a drag on the story.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. Children would enjoy the stories about the animals and adults would appreciate the descriptions of nature and the local people of a small English village. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5. I took a half star off because of the technical terminology.

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2 Thoughts on “StevenF Review of All Creatures Great and Small

  1. Remmy2013 on December 8, 2016 at 10:55 am said:

    This is an awesome book. I am happy you finally got to read it. I think everyone should read it!

  2. pauly10 on December 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm said:

    He is well known over here in the UK and I think they made a TV show based on him as well.

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