Countryside view of fields

All Creatures Great and Small on PBS Tonight: Comfort Stories a Soothing Balm


31 Days of Resolutions – Day 9

All Creatures Great and Small is a new production of the book written by James Herriot (aka James Alfred Wight). And it looks to be a first-class production.

All Creatures Great and Small is a “comfort read,” a term I was introduced to while reviewing Jan Karon’s Mitford book series.

“A ‘comfort read’ [is] a book you return to again and again (even if only to dip into for a chapter or two) for a bit of cheer and warmth. –NY Public library blog

James Herriot’s stories were published in the U.S. in 1972. That’s when I read them and decided I would be a large animal vet, just like the main character.

It didn’t happen – I didn’t become a vet, even though my eleven-year-old self couldn’t imagine any other career path.

But I devoured and loved all of the Herriot books.

The stories of a veterinarian practicing in Yorkshire, England seem far removed from the experience and relatability of a pre-teen girl growing up in Erie, PA. But Herriot portrays his characters with such warmth and humor that they have universal appeal.

Those characters include the animals he treats. No doubt they are what make his stories popular and enduring.

Stubborn pigs and cows, late-night deliveries, frugal farmers, and the energy and enthusiasm of a young doctor lead to some amusing incidents.

But what makes Herriot’s Yorkshire come alive is his obvious love for all creatures great and small, furry or bipedal.

All Creatures Great and Small premieres on Masterpiece on PBS Sunday, January 10 at 9/8c.

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