James Herriot was the pen name of the British country veterinarian surgeon, James Alfred Wight, who wrote a series of semi-autobiographical stories of his work in the Yorkshire Dales in England.
Wight published his first book of little cats-and-dogs stories, as he called them, at the age of 54 in 1970. While the stories revolve around his work as a country vet, they speak more about Yorkshire country life, the people and their animals. It’s Wight’s keen observations and internal dialogue about how to proceed with complicated medical concerns, simple farmers and their natural remedies that they swear by. Ultimately, his stories are a commentary on the human condition through failure and success, loss and triumph.
I have particularly enjoyed the audiobook series narrated by Christopher Timothy. I listened to the book, “Every Living Thing,” first before I ever knew who James Herriot even was last summer. Oddly enough, it was one of the last books he published. As this summer draws to a close, I am listening to his first book, “All Creatures Great and Small.”
How they were arranged and collected differs between the UK collections and the US collections, which makes it even more complicated.
The order of how they were first published is as follows:
1. All Creatures Great and Small
2. All Things Bright and Beautiful
3. All Things Wise and Wonderful
4. The Lord God Made Them All
5. Every Living Thing
Wight also wrote numerous other children stories. His Treasury for Children was my first encounter with his writing when I was reading the stories to my children. I enjoyed them so much that I had to seek out more of his titles targeted for adults and then I was hooked.
His Treasury for Children is a collection of all his works for children in a single volume. These stories are great to read at bedtime or anytime you plan to set aside to read to your kids.
Wight died on February 23, 1995 at the age of 78 years old.