Saturday, April 09, 2016

James Herriot #atozchallenge

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As I scroll back through my previous posts, I can tell I like sharing books involving nature and animals! Today's author, James Herriot, fits nicely into that theme.

James Herriot was actually James Alfred (Alf) Wight, a veterinarian who practiced in the Yorkshire Dales in England after qualifying in 1939. He passed away in 1995.

I remember reading my first James Herriot book as probably a middle schooler. When I started homeschooling, I learned about the Treasury for Children (link to audio version, narrated by Jim Dale), which is a collection of picture books made from some of the stories you find in his novels. Then, I discovered audio books, which have changed my life for the better in SO many ways, and found All Creatures Great and Small on when I began my membership. What's fun about the audio versions is, they are narrated by Christopher Timothy, who played James Herriot on the BBC series based on the books.

Since then, we've gotten all five of his books on CD, and my family and I have listened to them several times over. We all enjoy them, from my  husband and myself, to my teen girls, to my little guy. I confess that when I got to Every Living Thing fofr the first time, I was glad I was alone in the car when I listened to the part about the introduction of artificial insemination in cattle. I laughed until I cried, but I wasn't sorry I didn't have to explain it to my girls, who were elementary aged at the time.

One of the things I enjoyed most was reading about his children, Jimmy and Rosie, and how they would go on veterinary visits with him when they were old enough, preschool age, until they started school. He would quiz them by asking them to, say, name six red birds or so many wildflowers. I don't know if my children picked up on the importance of nature study, or that it seemed to be assumed in the books, but I did! Good stuff.

If you already enjoy James Herriot's books, and might like to know a bit more about him, check out James Herriot: Life of a Country Vet, or perhaps James Herriot's Yorkshire. There's also The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My Father, a biography written by his son, James Wight. There's a website where you can read more about Mr. Herriot and any related activities - such as Skeldale House opening as a B&B!

Have you read any James Herriot? What did you think?


  1. I used to have a copy of this book that I got from the book club when I was still in high school. I never read it and it has since disappeared from my book collection. Well, at least I haven't seen it in a long time so I guess it's gone.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  2. I hope you will find it at the library and give it a chance!