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James Herriot Books In Order

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Publication Order of All Creatures Great and Small Books

If Only They Could Talk (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Creatures Great and Small (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vet in Harness (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vets Might Fly (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Things Wise and Wonderful (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lord God Made Them All (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vet in a Spin (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Smudge Books

Smudge, The Little Lost Lamb (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Smudge's Day Out (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Best of James Herriot (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Horse & Pony Stories (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wonderful World of James Herriot: A Charming Collection of Classic Stories (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

Bonny's Big Day (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moses the Kitten (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Only One Woof (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Christmas Day Kitten (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blossom Comes Home (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Market Square Dog (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oscar, Cat-About-Town (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Animals at Diamond Woods (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Animal Stories, Tame & Wild (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Yorkshire (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Creatures Great and Small Annual 1982 (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Favorite Dog Stories (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Dog Stories (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Greatest Cat Stories (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot Story Book (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Every Living Thing (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Treasury for Children (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Cat Stories (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Seven Yorkshire tales (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Yorkshire Stories (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Yorkshire Village (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Animal Stories (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Yorkshire Stories (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot's Yorkshire Revisited (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Famous and Curious Animal Stories(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Christmas Cats(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Herriot was born James Alfred Wight on February 1916; a British veterinary surgeon whose numerous years in his field prepared him for a writing career during which he told many a story about animals and their owners, James Herriot died in 1995.


Born in Sunderland, County Durham, James Herriot was the son of James and Hannah Bell Wight. While James took work as a ship plater, he also indulged his passion of the piano, his wife earning a small income as a dress maker, on top of her singing.

Attending Yoker primary school and Hillhead High School, Herriot gained a passion for football at an early age, becoming a lifetime supporter of the Sunderland Football club. He entered the veterinary filed at the age of 23, having received his qualifications from Glasgow veterinary college in 1939.

Initially practicing in Sunderland, James Herriot eventually moved to a rural area in the town of Thirsk, and there he stayed for the remainder of his life. James Herriot married Joan Catherine Anderson Danbury in 1941.

They had two children; James Alexander not only entered the veterinarian business but also joined his father as a partner in his practice, while Rosemary became a general practice physician. James Herriot briefly served in the military and eventually attested, even then, to have held a passion for writing, a dream than never came to fruition because so much of his time was consumed by his family and business.

It was his wife, Joan, who finally pushed him to pursue his dream; despite his enthusiasm, Herriot’s initial attempts at writing were met with rejection and often revolved around football. It wasn’t until he turned his eye towards what he knew best, animals, that James Herriot began to experience success.

It was after he observed the potential for success that his first novel ‘If only they could talk’ presented that James decided to drop the name Wight in favor of his pen name ‘James Herriot’, this resulting from common etiquette at the time which frowned upon the concept of professionals in most businesses advertising their services. James Herriot was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991 and died four years later; Joan, his wife, also died in 1999.

Writing Career

Many of James Herriot’s books are partially autobiographical and will tell stories that loosely incorporate events, people and places connected to his own life, many times in a personal manner. The books, in many ways, chronicle the shift the veterinary industry underwent during James’ years in his practice, taking into account the role transitions in agriculture as well as various social factors might have played in the process, this including the fact that many a veterinary practice slowly but steadily shifted their primary focus away from large beasts of burden to smaller creatures like dogs and cats.

While his books are largely referred to as animal stories, the creatures in James Herriot’s novels often play a fairly negligible role, with the plots primarily revolving around the people of Yorkshire country and their lives. The unique flavor present in Herriot’s work often emanates from the emphasis he places upon the relationships between animals and their owner, with the author known for making shrewd and quirky observations about this human/animal dynamic.

James Herriot’s books were adapted into a movie titled ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ in 1975, as well as a long running series of the same name which aired on BBC Television. The BBC also developed a three part drama in 2010 titled ‘Young James Herriot’ which utilized case notes and diaries to tell the story of the author. Herriot’s home of Thirsk has benefited greatly from his popularity, with the ‘World of James Herriot’ Museum attracting many a curious fan.

If Only They Could Talk

James Herriot arrives in the small village of Darrowby, unaware of the adventures that await him or the new friends that lie ahead. ‘If Only They Could Talk’ is a memoir narrating James Herriot’s first few years as a vet; operating in the country, ‘If Only They Could Talk’ manifests James Wight’s unique storytelling magic, the novel providing several hours of fun and joy to those persons that enjoy the company of animals and wish to explore the wild places of the country side.

‘If Only they could talk’ is an elegantly written novel that is often forgotten by today’s readers; there is never a dull moment within its pages. The characters are eccentric and the narrative couldn’t be any more humorous. Many natives of the region within which the novel is set have often complimented James’ first book for the sense of homeliness it creates

It shouldn’t happen to a Vet

The title aptly describes the spirit of James Herriot’s the second novel, which finds the author’s primary character, at one point, sitting on a high Yorkshire Moor and oddly scented like a cow. ‘It shouldn’t happen to a Vet’ continues to tell many more stories about Herriot’s complicated life, roping his boss Siegfried Farnon and the unpredictability that is his personality into the chaos, along with Tristan, his charming brother, complimented by Herriot’s fated encounter with the beautiful Helen.

Once more the beauty of the countryside shines through in this warm tale that is as charming as it is wise. ‘It shouldn’t happen to a vet’, like all of James Herriot’s works, is one novel that shouldn’t be rushed. James Herriot doesn’t write fast paced page turners filled with thrilling tales; rather it is those readers that enjoy the quite simplicity of a good book that Herriot writes for, his second novel simply happy to crawl down its own path, rarely in a hurry to arrive at its destination but making every portion of the journey a true delight.

James’ anecdotes about the life of a vet in the country illustrate a love for the quite life; they reveal wisdom and wit even while never failing to entertain. ‘It shouldn’t happen to a vet’ has no particular target group. It is the sort of novel that readers both young and old, men and women, are going to enjoy, whether they love animals and the countryside or not.

Indeed many older readers have admitted to enjoying James Herriot’s works during their teenage years, the same novels they continue to visit today and whose entertainment value has not dimmed even with the passing of time,

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Herriot

One Response to “James Herriot”

  1. Marika T Neuhardt: 3 years ago

    All of James Herriot’s books are a timeless joy to savor.

    Marika Neuhardt


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