All Creatures Great and Small: a guide to James Herriot's books

Find out why the engaging and heartfelt memoirs of a vet in rural Yorkshire continue to fly, leap and gallop off the shelves.

03/11/2021
2 minutes to read
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All Creatures Great and Small exists not only as James Herriot's wartime veterinary memoir, but also as an acclaimed TV adaptation starring Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Rachel Shenton and Callum Woodhouse – which, fans will be glad to know, is returning for a second series in January. But what about the original books that the series is based on? 

James Herriot's books are classic memoirs: feisty, funny and entrancing. Whether you're an animal lover, a student of human nature, or if you have a penchant for the wild beauty of the Yorkshire moors, these books are for you. 

James Herriot's memoirs

All Creatures Great and Small

by James Herriot

Book cover for All Creatures Great and Small

The first of James Herriot's much-loved memoirs, All Creatures Great and Small sees the young James emerge from veterinary college in Glasgow in the 1930s. Carving out a career in rural Yorkshire, he has to tangle with eccentric new colleagues Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, as well as cryptic farmers, feral cattle and a tubby Pekingese called Tricky Woo. Things get even more complicated when he falls head over heels for Helen, the beautiful daughter of a local farmer.

All Creatures Great and Small: Official Trailer

All Things Bright and Beautiful

by James Herriot

Book cover for All Things Bright and Beautiful

James is settling down in the quiet Yorkshire village of Darrowby, happily married to farmer's daughter Helen. But things are never quite as straightforward as planned . . . he must cope with the vagaries of his colleagues Siegfried and Tristan, get to grips with new techniques and deliver calves after drinking way too much home-brewed wine. Meanwhile war looms on the horizon, threatening to take him away from Helen forever.

All Things Wise and Wonderful

by James Herriot

Book cover for All Things Wise and Wonderful

Away from Darrowby in the bustle of London, James finds himself missing his challenging colleagues and the grumpy local farmers, but most of all he longs to see his wife Helen, who is pregnant with their first child. He is training to be an RAF pilot, keen to serve his country, but could never miss seeing his child enter the world.

The Lord God Made Them All

by James Herriot

Book cover for The Lord God Made Them All

James has returned from his wartime service in the RAF and is settling back into life as a rural vet. While the world has changed, his uncompromising farmer clients and the eccentric roster of animal ailments have not. Life in Darrowby is still full of events and uproars, and with a new baby on the way things are not going to get any easier . . .

Every Living Thing

by James Herriot

Book cover for Every Living Thing

Now back from the war and well established as a Yorkshire country vet, James has two children and a place in the hearts of even the gruffest local farmers. He has seen great advances in veterinary science and medicine, but still gets in the odd tangle dealing with obstinate animals and hypochondriac pet owners. Even so, there's nowhere he'd rather be than Darrowby. 

More books by James Herriot

Let Sleeping Vets Lie

by James Herriot

Book cover for Let Sleeping Vets Lie

Two years into his job as a vet, James is delighted to be assisting at the practice in Darrowby on the stunning Yorkshire moors. There's a rich cast of characters – and animals – to keep him on his toes: his mercurial boss Siegfried Farnon, Siegfried's sweetly errant brother Tristan, a distinctly mean cat named Boris, and beautiful Helen, who James is trying unsuccessfully to woo.

Vet in Harness

by James Herriot

Book cover for Vet in Harness

Life in Darrowby is good. James has become a partner in the practice, with his beloved wife Helen by his side. Between village cricket games, demanding animals and their ever more demanding owners, there is hardly a quiet moment in the Yorkshire Dales for James.

Vets Might Fly

by James Herriot

Book cover for Vets Might Fly

The Second World War rudely interrupts James and Helen in their love nest in Darrowby, and he must leave home to play his part. Digging for victory in a training camp far from home, James longs for home cooking and the rustic life he left behind.

Vet in a Spin

by James Herriot

Book cover for Vet in a Spin

It's all change for James, far from his precious practice and far above the ground: he is strapped into the cockpit of a Tiger Moth and training to be a fighter pilot for the RAF. James finds he is desperately homesick for his wife Helen, their small son Jimmy, and he even misses his unpredictable colleagues Siegfried and Tristan – and his four-legged friends back in Darrowby.