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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2005
This book is a collection of short stories about the life and work of the vet James Herriot. These stories, which lead on from each other, are both about looking after farm animals in cold fields, and dealing with both pet animals and their owners in the surgery and in the owners homes.
All things bright and beautiful will either put you off ever wanting to be a vet or will make you want to be a vet. It glamourises being up in the middle of the night, standing in freezing cold fields and not being able to save people's pets. When this was first published there was a massive increase in the number of people applying to study at university to be vets.
It is a hugely funny book. You can not help but laugh at every small detail and you have great sympathy for Herriot in his struggles. His wit never fails, even when he recalls being squashed behind a bull.
All Creatures Great and Small is the title the book was published under in America. In England it was called Vet in Harness.
I would recomend this book to everyone even if they think that it is not their thing. I did not think I would like it and was supprised. It was very popular at one time and was made in to a TV series for a reason.
Sequals are available
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Many years ago I was given this book without any prior knowledge of James Herriot the vet. From the first page to the last I was gripped by the sense of joy and wonderment contained within. Even now having read this book maybe five or six times it still fills me with that feeling you get on a warm summers day as the sun goes down. Is there a more joyous book? I really doubt it.

This is really the omnibus of the first few books that James Herriot or rather James Alfred Wight based loosely on his life as a vet in the 40's. It is charming warm and full of humour. It speaks of a simpler and sometimes harder life that Britain has lost.

The writing style is deceptively simple. However it packs all the information you need to recreate the Yorkshire of days gone by. Characters jump out the page and of course the love of animals is evident on every page.

A simply wonderful book that never fails to add a little warmth to my world.
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on 4 September 2016
Having read the series before I'm revisiting them during a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. Thoroughly enjoy the humour, detail and quite often pathos of the recollections. Love the fact that these are times long past and Herriot captures it all so well. Totally agree with descriptions of the dales, villages and views. On to the next......
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on 29 July 2016
Read it in hardback many many times. Good as a novel or short stories. Unlike a lot of modern books it dosen't to rely on violence to keep the reader interested. It's factual, amusing and educational...what more can you want? Have downloaded James Herriotts full works and will enjoy for years to come.
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on 2 July 2009
I have read most of the James Herriot books, this is another good book. James Herriot books are ideal to read when you need a giggle. I would recoment this book to All creatures great and small fans.
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on 17 September 2013
James Herriot's stories can bring simple joy in an otherwise hectic world, I have lost count of the times I've read these stories but they still make me laugh
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The sequel to the hugely successful All Creatures Great and Small: "If Only They Could Talk" and "It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet" does not disappoint. James Alfred Wight (writing under the pen name of James Herriot) gives us another funny, loving, entertaining, enlightening, delightful look into the life of a country vet.

This time the narrative is less direct and instead we get a series of short stories (not always in strict chronological order) still vibrant with the sometimes infuriating personalities of both men and beasts, and alive with Herriot's deep love of the Dales and the challenging job he has embraced. One of my all-time favourite literary characters features in several of the anecdotes: the smooth, classy, unflappable, effortlessly brilliant Grenville Bennett, with his immaculate surgery, and his elegant, gorgeous wife whom James is destined to always meet while in the reduced state of a gibbering idiot. The spectre of WW2 hangs over the land and the book ends with one last successful intervention on a dog before James is called to arms.

If you enjoyed the first book, you will most likely love this sequel. There is a little more factual detail on the veterinary side of things but the same infectious humour prevails and the funny bits are still hilarious even when we know what's coming. A classic, suitable for everyone, and which has stood the test of time.
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Great stories, I've been reading these tales since I was at school and frequently return to them.
Just one thing to beware of at the moment - chapter 7 is truncated, right in the middle so until Amazon fix it, I 'd go elsewhere for the book.
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on 8 March 2013
As a nation of animal lovers you cant help to be touched by some of the stories in this book, which take you back to a bygone age of traditional Yorkshire Hill and Dale farming. There are stories too which are just downright funny, and give you a good belly laugh. All in all a good book by a man who clearly loved the work and area in which he found himself.
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on 1 November 2015
I read this book some years ago but really enjoyed having my own copy to read again. James Herriot writes of times gone by and in part of the country that must be very beautiful. I enjoy reading all his books.
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