Set in the 1930′s, this book chronicles the adventures of a young veterinarian serving the farmers and animals who reside in Yorkshire, England. All Creatures Great and Small is the first in a series of true-life tales that brings the patients, coworkers and employers of James Herriot brilliantly to life.
The Main Body:
Fresh out of veterinary school, James arrives in Yorkshire full of idealism and a desire to help the pets and livestock who live there. Upon his arrival, he meets his eccentric and unpredictable boss, Siegfried Farnon, Seigfried’s rascally, but charming younger brother, and an entire cast of simple, hard working, farmers.
It does not take long, however, for James to realize that change does not come easily to the citizens of Yorkshire. Many of the farmers are suspicious of the new vet, and some refuse to trust him at all, which puts his four-legged patients at risk. James perseveres in his new job, and with boundless good humor and true compassion for animals begins to win the locals over.
Each chapter in the book tells the story of a different client or situation the young doctor faces. All of them are described with a keen eye for detail and a self-deprecating attitude. The author does not spare himself any embarrassment as he admits to his mistakes and inexperience.
Listeners soon learn to recognize James’ vices and virtues and cheer him on as he makes friends and establishes his career. A touch of romance enters the story when James begins his pursuit of the lovely Helen-a match made in heaven if ever there was one.
Audio fans of all ages, especially those with a fondness for animals, will enjoy All Creatures Great and Small. Children may need a little help interpreting the expressions and accents of Yorkshire, but they will surely be engaged b y the tales of the dogs, cats and farm animals that populate Dr. Herriot’s world. Listening to the book during commutes or exercise sessions of around 30-40 minutes, is a good way to enjoy it, since each chapter is a self-contained story.
Christopher Timothy, the actor who played Herriot in a BBC television series derived from this series of books, is the narrator of the audio version. As a British native, he has the accents and timing of the characters firmly in his grasp. His reading is crisp and professional, yet full of affection for the subject matter.
His trained voice helps transport the listener to the hills, dales, barns, and stables of rural England, which are all delightful places to visit.