Are you a fan of James Herriot’s books and looking for a list of all the James Herriot books in order?
Then we are here to help!
How To Read the James Herriot Books In Order
As already mentioned, James Herriot’s books often include semi-autobiographical material. This leads to a personal tone within his writing that creates an immersive experience for readers. He paints such a detailed picture of the setting and environment that it feels familiar and comforting to readers, even those who have never visited Yorkshire.
In his All Creatures Great and Small series, Wight depicts rural life in the English countryside through the eyes of a veterinarian named James Herriot. While animals therefore feature quite heavily in his books, it doesn’t detract from Wight’s character development or portrayal.
Instead, in exploring the relationship between animals and their owners, Wight was able to capture a sense of magic amongst the mundane that have made his books so long-lasting.
James Herriot Books in Order of Publication
There are four different ways to read James Herriot books in order. These are divided into the following sections
- All Creatures Great and Small Books
- Non-Fiction Books
- Picture Books
- Short Story Collections
Some books are out of print and cannot be linked. You might be able to find them in a used bookstore.
#1 All Creatures Great and Small Books in Order
The All Creatures Great and Small series was initially published in two different ways. It all depended on which side of the Atlantic you were ordering your books on.
In the UK, the first six books were published in separate volumes, which are listed below. The final two books in this series were published the same in both the US and the UK.
- If Only They Could Talk (1970)
- It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet (1972)
- Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973)
- Vet in Harness (1974)
- Vets Might Fly (1976)
- Vet in a Spin (1977)
- The Lord God Made Them All (1981)
- Every Living Thing (1992)
In the US, however, the James Herriot books in order for this series is bit shorter. This is because those first six books were published in bind-up volumes containing two books each. Again, the final two books in this series were published the same as in the UK.
- All Creatures Great and Small (1972)
- All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974)
- All Things Wise and Wonderful (1977)
- The Lord God Made Them All (1981)
- Every Living Thing (1992)
#2 James Herriot Other Non-Fiction Books in Order
- Animal Stories, Tame & Wild (1979)
- James Herriot’s Yorkshire (1979)
- 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 Yorkshire Village (1995)
- James Herriot’s Animal Stories (1997)
- Yorkshire Stories (1998)
- James Herriot’s Yorkshire Revisited (1999)
#3 James Herriot Picture Books in Order
- 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)
#4 James Herriot Short Story Collections
Other Books about James Herriot
- The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My Father
- James Herriot: The Life of a Country Vet
- The Yorkshire Vet: In the Footsteps of Herriot
Who is James Herriot?
James Herriot is the pseduonym for James Alfred Wight. He was an English veterinarian who drew inspiration from his life when he turned to writing.
Before he became a writer, Wight lived a full life as a veterinarian. He also served in the Royal Air Force and helped raise his family.
While he wanted to write a book for years, it wasn’t until his wife challenged him that Wight – at 50 – finally put pen to paper. Unfortunately, his first stories on different topics were not successful. It wasn’t until he shifted to a semi-autobiographical tone in his writing that he found his niche.
The decision to publish under a pen name was due in part to Wight still being a practicing veterinarian. Readers fell in love with the veterinarian James Herriot’s reflections. While Wight’s first book, If Only They Could Talk, wasn’t an instant bestseller, the decision to combine his first two books within a single volume bind-up brought great success.
All Creatures Great and Small has since been adapted for television and film, as well as inspiring many sequels within the series.
If you’re interested in reading the James Herriot books in order, continue reading to find out how best to approach his works.
A Summary Of James Herriot Books in Order
If Only They Could Talk (1970)
When the newly qualified vet, James Herriot, arrives in the small Yorkshire village of Darrowby, he has no idea of the new friends he will meet or adventures that lie ahead.
From the author whose books inspired the BBC series “All Creatures Great and Small”, this first volume of unforgettable memoirs chronicles James Herriot’s first years as a country vet, with the signature storytelling magic that has made him a favourite the world over.
Here is a book for all those who find laughter and joy in animals, and who know and understand the magic of wild places and beautiful countryside.
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet (1972)
How on earth did James Herriot come to be sitting on a high Yorkshire moor, smelling vaguely of cows? James isn’t sure, but he knows that he loves it.
This second hilarious volume of memoirs contains more tales of James’ unpredictable boss Siegfried Farnon, his charming student brother Tristan, animal mayhem galore and his first encounters with a beautiful girl called Helen.
All Creatures Great and Small (1972)
This volume contains both If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet.
Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world’s most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.
For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot’s marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.
In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school.
Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion. Some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot’s periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery. Yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot’s recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals.
From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.
Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973)
With two years experience behind him, James Herriot still feels privileged working on the beautiful Yorkshire moors as assistant vet at the Darrowby practice. Time to meet yet more unwilling patients and a rich cast of supporting owners.
Full of hilarious tales of his unpredictable boss Siegfreid Farnon, his charming student brother Tristan, the joys of spring lambing, a vicious cat called Boris and James’ jinxed courtship of the lovely Helen, this third volume of memoirs is sure to delight hardened fans and new readers of James Herriot titles alike.
Vet in Harness (1974)
The Yorkshire dales have never seemed more beautiful for James – now he has a lovely wife by his side, a partner’s plate on the gate and the usual menagerie of farm animals, pets and owners demanding his constant attention and teaching him a few lessons along the way.
All of the old Darrowby friends are on top form – Siegfried thrashes round the practice, Tristan occasionally buckles down for finals and James is signed up for a local cricket team.
All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974)
This volume includes both Let Sleeping Vets Lie and Vets in Harness.
It picks up as Herriot, now newly married, journeys among the remote hillside farms and valley towns of the Yorkshire Dales, caring for their inhabitants – both two- and four-legged.
Throughout, Herriot’s deep compassion, humor, and love of life shine out as we laugh, cry, and delight in his portraits of his many, varied animal patients and their equally varied owners.
Vets Might Fly (1976)
A few months of married bliss, a lovers’ nest in Darrowby and the wonders of home cooking are rudely interrupted for James Herriot by the Second World War.
James Herriot’s fifth volume of memoirs relocates him to a training camp somewhere in England. And in between square pounding and digging for victory, he dreams of the people and livestock he left behind him.
Vet in a Spin (1977)
James Herriot has swapped his wellies for a flying jacket, but he can’t wait to get back to the practice and his old Darrowby friends.
James Herriot, strapped into the cockpit of a Tiger Moth trainer, feels rather out of place, but he hasn’t found a new profession and it surely won’t be long before the RAF come round to his point of view.
This sixth volume of unforgettable memoirs sees him dreaming of the day when he can rejoin his wife Helen, little son Jimmy, veterinary partner Siegfried, the eternal student Tristan – and all the old Darrowby crows, both two-legged and four.
All Things Wise and Wonderful (1977)
This volume contains Vets Might Fly and Vet in a Spin.
In the midst of World War II, James is training for the Royal Air Force, while going home to Yorkshire whenever possible to see his very pregnant wife, Helen.
Musing on past adventures through the dales, visiting with old friends, and introducing scores of new and amusing character – animal and human alike – Herriot enthralls with his uncanny ability to spin a most engaging and heartfelt yarn.
The Lord God Made Them All (1981)
The Lord God Made Them All is the bestselling sequel to All Things Wise and Wonderful. It is the fourth volume in James Herriot’s US publications classic collections of animal stories. In the UK order of publication this is the seventh novel in the series.
In this newly repackaged volume, after serving in the RAF in World War II, Herriot gladly returns home to Yorkshire to his beloved family and multitude of patients, with many more tender, funny, sad and wise stories to share with us and warm our hearts.
Every Living Thing (1992)
Every Living Thing shines with the storytelling magic that has made him a favourite the world over. It also reveals more of the real James Herriot than ever before.
Here is a book for all those who find laughter and joy in animals. And for those who know and understand the magic of wild places and beautiful countryside.
I hope this helps you know how to approach reading the James Herriot books in order.
Herriot’s books are a delightful, heartwarming read for anyone who enjoys British humor or animal stories. In addition, his memoirs are still as relevant today as they were when first published in the 1970s.