All Creatures Great and Small

Years ago, I was struck, I think, by the poetical nature of the titles: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, And yet, as a child spying them on the shelf at my grandparents’ house, I assumed they were boring, stodgy old books, unworthy of my attention. Not until years later did I learn the nature of those books—the memoirs of a veterinarian. That confirmed my first impressions. Certainly there was nothing in those books of interest to me. 

Until I saw the BBC series based on the books. Then I fell in love with the characters. But I still felt little use for the words that birthed them. This summer, that changed. On a trip to Pennsylvania I picked up a copy of All Creatures Great and Small in a coffee shop/used bookstore as I waited on my latte. I read the first page and was captivated by the words and the images they evoked. This was a book I could read! I showed it to my husband, who concurred. We bought the book. 

My husband got it first, needing something to read on the plane ride home. He loved it—but he left it in the pocket of the seat in front of him as we exited the plane. He asked me to find another copy. I finally remembered. He finished it. I set it on my stack to be read, finally picking it up a couple of weeks ago. 

The rest of the book lived up to the first page that had enthralled me. James Herriot’s use of language and imagery and description and humor keep me glued to the pages of this fascinating trip through time and space to experience Yorkshire of the middish-1900s. I enjoyed every page, both for what was said and how it was said. Now to find the rest—and the time to enjoy them!



2 comments on “All Creatures Great and Small

  1. I read all these books back in the day and loved them. So much so, that when Max and I made our “dream” trip to England, we tarried in the Yorkshire Dales, had high tea in the town where Herriott supposedly lived, and visited the Herriott “surgery” museum in York. We loved the little towns throughout Yorkshire, and it was as magical in person as the stories.

  2. I agree with you, even though we grew up watching the BBC series it wasn’t until earlier this year that I actually considered reading the books. Boy, are they great. Never a dull moment, and who would have ever guessed the life of a veterinary in mid-20th century England Dales would be so plum interesting and downright hillarious at times. Great books!

    – Billy

Comments are closed.