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All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

A collection of wonderful four-legged (and a few with two) friend stories strung together by a Scottish vet’s great prose and endearing persona. Anyone who has loved any animal, will connect with this book. It has tears of joy and sadness, humor, love and painted imagery and sounds of the 1930s English country-side. In a word – pathos. Another- emotive. Despite its simplicity – be ready for a few laugh-out-loud moments ( I refuse to say LOL), like cleaning a window with a chicken, quite a few sentences that have to be re-read, to understand the thick written brogue and keep a tissue or two handy. Be sure to collect a few phrases to add to your everyday vernacular.

This book also presented the opportunity for my grandma, and I to read a book together and talk about it. She also shared some other stories of her life – these are true precious moments. Grandma immigrated from Scotland after serving in WWII, shooting down planes and marrying my grandfather. On a recent visit, she shared that they actually met James Harriot in Scotland, and he had some funny comment involving “arse”. The book also reminded her that as a young girl she had a pet pony named Polly (can you see the children’s book title now) and loved her bantam hens.

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans”.

Except from Cecil Francis Alexander’s poem –

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Review of the sequel: All Things Bright and Beautiful