Looking to read James Herriot's books in order? We can help! Discover an up-to-date list of his novels in their intended order and learn helpful insights as you go along.
James Herriot, the beloved pen name of the late veterinary surgeon James Alfred Wight, has been an incredible success story. For over 40 years, readers have been captivated by his heartwarming tales of life as a Yorkshire veterinarian.
His books and television adaptations have captured the hearts of millions around the globe, making him one of Britain’s most widely-read authors. With such an extensive bibliography, it can be challenging to decide which book to start with – or even where you are in the series!
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of all James Herriot books in order. From All Creatures Great and Small books to Every Living Thing and beyond, we dive into the world of James Herriot to explore his timeless body of work.
James Herriot books in order
All Creatures Great and Small
Soon after graduating from Glasgow veterinary college, James Herriot embarks on a new journey as a veterinary assistant in Yorkshire, England, during the 1930s Great Depression. He quickly develops relationships with Siegfried Farnon and Tristan, the two brothers in charge of Skeldale House, where he works.
Over time, James learns to understand the local farmers and townspeople as he compassionately tends to their animals’ medical needs. Herriot develops an intimate knowledge of each animal’s specific care requirements and personalities, from cows to horses to sheep.
Amidst the changing moods of the English countryside and its inhabitants, his passion for animals shines through. Despite the challenges of this period, James is determined to honor every creature-great and small-with his unwavering devotion.
All Creatures Great and Small is a combination of two stories previously published separately in the UK – If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet (1972). The combined work was done by St. Martin’s Press in New York.
The book has inspired several movies, including a 41-episode BBC television series.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
James Herriot’s All Things Bright and Beautiful follows the beloved country vet on his journeys through the Yorkshire Dales, where he visits numerous animals and their owners. This book chronicles Herriot’s unique interactions as he treats a wide range of creatures: from cats to cows, parrots to pigs.
Throughout the two novel omnibuses, Let Sleeping Vets Lie and Vet in Harness, readers travel with James as he meets humorous yet endearing characters and learns life lessons along the way. The delightful stories of rural England provide an insight into life during the 1940s-60s while also celebrating the beauty of nature and the friendship between animals and humans.
All Things Wise and Wonderful
All Things Wise and Wonderful is the third installment in the much-loved series, this time following protagonist James Herriot through a completely different experience – military service in Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). The novel begins with Herriot signing up for basic training, a process that includes extensive instruction on aircraft as well as physical and mental challenges. Though it proves to be a difficult transition, he is spurred forward by his love for his wife, Helen, who stays behind while he serves.
Throughout the novel, readers are treated to insightful reflections from Herriot’s past experiences as both an animal veterinarian and now a part of the RAF. Moments such as struggling with physical training only to come out stronger or being moved by the kindness of strangers become the highlights of this book.
The novel combines two stories previously published separately in the UK – Vets Might Fly (1976) and Vet in a Spin (1977). It has since become one of the most beloved books in Herriot’s series, known for its charming characters and heartfelt messages about family, courage, and resilience.
The Lord God Made Them All
James Herriot returns home from the RAF to life in Darrowby, where not much has changed since before the war. He takes his children along with him on some of his veterinary calls and even travels abroad as part of his new role as a supervisory veterinarian.
In this fourth book, diary-like entries document his time in Russia and Istanbul, during which he was responsible for ensuring animal health and welfare for animals about to be sent overseas. Herriot also navigates the medical advancements that come with post-war times, making it an intriguing period for readers to explore.
Every Living Thing
In James Herriot’s early 1960s veterinary practice, readers are re-introduced to the talented assistant John Crooks and the eccentric Calum Buchanan.
With his own family by his side, he spends countless days traveling in his van to visit farms, tending to all kinds of animals, from tiny sparrows to prize bulls. His beloved dog Tricki Woo is usually alongside him during these visits.
Despite the long hours and harsh conditions, Herriot is content with a job that has allowed him to build a life for himself and get closer to nature. It’s a life of hard work, immense satisfaction, and joy for every living thing he tends to.
All five installments are international bestsellers that have inspired several movies.
Nonfiction books by James Herriot
- Animal Stories, Tame & Wild (1979)
- James Herriot’s Yorkshire (1979)
- All Creatures Great and Small (Annual 1982) (1981)
- James Herriot’s Favorite Dog Stories (1986)
- James Herriot’s Dog Stories (1986)
- Greatest Cat Stories (1989)
- James Herriot Story Book (1992)
- James Herriot’s Treasury for Children (1992)
- James Herriot’s Cat Stories (1994)
- Seven Yorkshire Tales (1995)
- James Herriot’s Yorkshire Stories (1995)
- James Herriot’s Animal Stories (1997)
- James Herriot’s Yorkshire Revisited (1999)
- Bonny’s Big Day (1972)
- Moses the Kitten (1984)
- Only One Woof (1985)
- The Christmas Day Kitten (1986)
- Blossom Comes Home (1988)
- The Market Square Dog (1989)
- Oscar, Cat-About-Town (1990)
- The Animals at Diamond Woods (2009)
- The Best of James Herriot (1983)
- Horse & Pony Stories (1986)
- Smudge, The Little Lost Lamb (1991)
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