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Free James Herriot Unit Study and Notebooking Pages


James Herriot Multi-book Theme Unit


  unit by Heidi Jasper


Social Studies
Language Arts
Fine Arts
Applied Math
Research Options for Older Students/Rabbit Trails

Notebooking Pages

Social Studies Notebooking Pages

Language Arts Notebooking Pages

Narration/Summary Pages

Biography Pages

Bible/Character/Issues of Human Relationship

Science Notebooking Pages

Animal Report Forms

Books Used/Story Summaries

Blossom Comes Home

To make room for a younger cow, Farmer Dakin reluctantly takes his old cow Blossom to market with surprising results


Market Square Dog

A friendly stray dog comes to beg in the Darrowby village square-and goes without a home until the local policeman saves the day.


Moses the Kitten

A tiny, bedraggled kitty found beside a frozen pond, is nursed back to health on a nearby farm, turns out to have a very unusual idea of who his mother is.

The Christmas Day Kitten
The story of Buster, an irresistible kitten who finds a new home on Christmas morning.


Only One Woof

Gyp, a cheerful but always silent sheep dog, startles everyone with uncharacteristic behavior during the championship sheep dog trials.


Smudge, the little lost lamb

Smudge, an adorable black-and-white lamb, who lives in Farmer Cobb's farmyard with his mother and many other animals decides to see the world outside Farmer Cobb's fence, and finds himself on a glorious adventure-until he discovers that he can't get back in.


Bonny’s Big Day

farmer John Skipton who, at Dr. Herriot's suggestion, enters his old carthorse Bonny in the Darrowly Pet Show.


Oscar Cat About Town

Oscar a sad and starved gray kitten arrived in James Herriot's veterinary one day. The little girl who brought him in said he was lost. James and his family adopt the cat, and fell in love. One day Oscar goes missing.


Social Studies

Herriot’s England



England is also known as the British Isles, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.  It includes about 5,000 small islands and two large ones; Great Britain and Ireland.  The United Kingdom is a union of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The population is approximately 58.8 milLion.  The capital is London.  Warm ocean currents keep the climate moderate with winds bringing the heaviest rainfall to the western coasts.

Zoom School on England
United Kingdom Information at Enchanted Learning

James Herriot Study Lapbook/Notebook Project
Create mini-books, etc. for the following information to compile in a lapbook or notebook as you learn things throughout your study.  Here is a title from the library that I found helpful: Countries of the World: England  by Maree Lister and Marti Stevier. 

Map of the British Isles (information about the names on the isles, the flag, etc.)

from Moses the Kitten
        definition of Dales
        mark Dales on your map

from Only One Woof  

        information about sheepherding with dogs

from The Christmas Kitten
        find Yorkshire region on the map, mark it
        make a list of Christmas traditions in England (note in the text and researched if you want)

from Bonny's Big Day
        Oak and Beech tree information

from Blossom Comes Home
        locate Briston (Norfolk region) and mark on your map

from The Market Square Dog
        information about market squares in England
        locate Browton (Yorkshire region-- Broughton) and mark on your map)
        information on high-walled gardens
        information on British policemen

from Oscar, Cat About Town
        add Wickley (Yorkshire region- Wickersley) to your map
        information about soccer
        information about British Tea-Time


from Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb
        information on stone walls
        Dale Ponies
        stone bridges
        gardens in Britain (compared to yards in America)


Herriot's Tea Time in England
Several of the books mention Tea Time.  Here is some information about Tea Time in England (condensed from Wikipedia).  You may want to find a book from your library to read instead. 

Library List
Children's Tea and Etiquette by Dorothea Johnson
Let's Have a Tea Party!: Special Celebrations for Little Girls by Emilie Barnes 
Teatime with Emma Buttersnap by Lindsey Tate

Tea in England was initially served in coffee houses; it was expensive and only affordable for the very rich.  Despite the cost, tea drinking became widely popular, and tea sellers such as Thomas Twining started selling dry tea, so that ladies who could not frequent the coffee houses could enjoy it.  Tea was very valuable, and was kept by the lady of the house rather than in the care of the housekeeper. It was the lady of the house also who would serve the tea, in imitation of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Afternoon tea (Low tea) is a light meal typically eaten at 4 o'clock. It originates in Britain, though various places in the former British Empire also have such a meal. However, most Britons no longer eat such a meal.  Traditionally, loose tea would be served in a teapot with milk and sugar. This would be accompanied by various sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste (bloater), ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with butter, clotted cream and jam — see cream tea) and usually cakes and pastries (see recipes below). The food would be often served in a tiered stand.  Afternoon tea used to be an everyday event, but today it is more of a treat in a hotel, cafe', or tea shop (although many Britons still have a cup of tea and a slice of cake or chocolate at teatime).

High Tea  is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening. It would be eaten as a substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. The term comes from the meal being eaten at the ‘high’ (main) table, instead of the smaller lounge table. It is now largely replaced by the later meal tea.  It would usually consist of cold meats, eggs and/or fish, cakes and sandwiches. In a family, it tends to be less formal and is an informal snack (featuring sandwiches, cookies, pastry, fruit and the like) or else it is the main evening meal.  On farms or other working class environments, high tea would be the traditional, filling meal eaten by the workers immediately after nightfall, and would combine afternoon tea with the main evening meal. 

Tea is the main evening meal, even if the diners are not drinking tea. It is traditionally eaten at 5 o'clock in the evening, though often it is later, as late as 9pm.

Recipes to accompany your afternoon tea

2 16-ounce packages pound cake mix
Red paste food coloring
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
2 7-ounce packages marzipan
Sifted powdered sugar

1. Grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside. Prepared pound cake mixes according to package directions (make each package separately). Spread batter from 1 mix into 1 of the prepared pans. Tint second batter pink with food coloring; spread into the second pan. Bake cakes according to package directions or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on a rack 10 minutes; remove from pans; cool completely.

2. To assemble, trim crusts from sides, ends, and tops of cakes to make evenly shaped loaves. Trim loaves so each measures 7-1/2x4x3/4 inches. Cut pink loaf into 5 logs measuring 7-1/2x1x3/4 inches. You will have some cake leftover from each loaf; use for another dessert.

3. Drizzle the 9 logs with orange juice; set aside. In a small saucepan combine the raspberry jam and corn syrup; heat and stir over low heat until jam is melted and mixture is smooth; set aside.

4. In a bowl knead marzipan with your hands to soften. Sprinkle both sides of marzipan with powdered sugar; roll between 2 sheets of waxed paper to a 12x8-inch rectangle. (If desired, roll marzipan to a 15x8-inch rectangle; trim 3 inches from a short side and use to cut decorative shapes for garnishes.) Brush off excess sugar.

5. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Brush jam mixture on 1 long side of a plain cake log. Place log crosswise in the center of marzipan sheet, jam side down. Brush jam mixture on the other 3 long sides of log. Brush a long side of 2 pink logs with jam mixture. Place, jam side down, on each side of the plain log. Brush exposed long sides with jam mixture. For second layer, place another pink log on top of first plain log. Brush exposed sides with jam. Place 2 plain logs on either side of the second pink log, brushing exposed sides with jam. Repeat layering with remaining cake logs, alternating colors to make checkerboard pattern. Press logs together.

6. Bring marzipan up over sides of cake so edges meet at top of cake, covering long sides but not ends. Crimp marzipan to seal; decorate top with marzipan trimmings as desired. Transfer to a serving plate. Using a serrated knife, trim cake and marzipan to make ends even.  Let cake stand, covered, for several hours or overnight before serving.

(--adapted from a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens-- webpage is no longer available)

Victorian Sponge
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup self rising flour

1. Heat the oven to 350.
2. Line two circle cake pans with baking parchment (or use non-stick spray, or coat with crisco/flour)
3. Cream the butter and the sugar together.
4. Beat in the eggs.
5. Sift over the flour and fold in using a large metal spoon. The mixture should be of a dropping consistency - if it isn't, add a little milk.
6. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread with a spatula.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an toothpick comes out clean.
8. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool.
9. Sandwich the cakes together with jam, lemon curd or whipped cream and berries.

Herriot’s  Hats
In America, we typically use three different kinds of hats-- the cowboy hat, the ball cap, and winter stocking caps.  These books give us a wonderful opportunity to discover various hats with interesting names worn during a time in history when most everyone wore a hat when out in public. 

Here is a listing of the kinds of hats named throughout the Herriot books.  Look for hat pictures on-line and make a minit-book with your student.   You may also want to see if you can find some examples of these hats in your closets, grandparent's closets, or at antique stores.   A hat making contest is mentioned in one of the stories; you may want to try a hatmaking/decorating contest of your own!

Only One Woof
Flat Cap
-- a rounded soft men's cap with a small brim in front and bit of a stiff peak in the back.   It is usually made out of wool or tweed, although some have been made out of leather.  This style can be traced to 14th century England and is often associated with newsboys. 

Trilby-- a soft felt men's hat with a narrow brim and a deeply indented crown.  Traditionally made from rabbit hair felt, but now it is made from wool, tweed, or another fiber.  This style of hat has been a symbol of class and elegance.


Deer-stalker-- typically worn in rural areas, usually for hunting.  This hat has been associated with Sherlock Holmes and has become a stereotypical hat of a detective.  It has dual brims which protect the face and neck from the sun; it also has two side flaps that can be worn down or tied under the chin to protect the ears in windy or winter weather. 

Bonny's Big Day
Pork Pie hat-- type of felt hat (have also been made of straw).  It has a short crown and a flat top.  It gets its name because it resembles a pork pie. 


Bowler (also known as the Derby Hat)-- a hard hat to protect the head from low tree branches for gamekeepers while they rode on horseback.  In the United States, this is known as the derby hat. 


Oscar, Cat About Town

Cap-- (see information for Flat Cap above)

Have a hat making contest!

Challenge for an older child----Can you find any hat names not mentioned in the lessons?


Library List
Ho for a Hat! by William Jay Smith (a young boy explores the many different hats)

Hetty’s 100 Hats by Emma Dodd (a young girl decides to collect 100 hats)

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss

(Source for hat information: )


Places Around the Town (this lesson goes with Oscar, Cat-About-Town)
Oscar had several places he liked to visit.  Discuss each one with your student.

1. One of Oscar’s favorite places to visit was the Women’s Institute Hall.  This most likely was a part of what is know today as the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI), the largest voluntary organization for women in the UK with 211,000 members in England, Wales and the Islands. NFWI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.  Members enjoy opportunities to explore cooking and recipes, craft projects, and adult education in many diverse courses. 

2. Another place Oscar enjoyed visiting was a rummage sale which was being held in the town hall.  Has your child ever seen what we call a yard sale or garage sale here in America?  A rummage is a sale of assorted secondhand objects contributed by donors to raise money for a charity.

What is the difference between a Rummage Sale and a Garage/Yard Sale?  By definition, it is where the money goes—to a charity (Rummage Sale) or to the owner (Garage/Yard Sale).

Activity—look in your newspaper’s classified section for a Rummage or Yard or Garage Sale and go see what bargains you can find!  Be sure to take cash as most don’t take checks, bank cards, or credit cards.

3. Another place Oscar enjoyed visiting was a soccer field.  If your child hasn’t played or watched a soccer match, check a book out of the library to read the rules and then go play a game in your yard or better yet, go to a youth soccer match in your area.

4.  The last place mentioned that Oscar liked to visit was to listen to the Brass Band playing at the Village Hall.  Here is information on what a Brass Band is and how it differs from other kinds of bands.  (see Music lesson in Fine Arts section)

-You may want to locate a local school band, City Band, philharmonic, or symphony; you may also want to try to visit a music store so your child can see the instruments.  If that isn’t possible, see if your library has any Brass Band music on CD you could listen to.  After learning the names of the instruments, have the child name the instruments seen in the illustrations.

Occupations:  Veterinarian
A veterinarian (American English) or a veterinary surgeon (British English), often shortened to vet, is a physician for animals.  If you have the opportunity during the course of this unit study, visit your local veterinarian.

Library List
Large Animal Veterinarians by Rod Bellville
Say Woof! by Gail Gibbons
Vicky the Vet (Usborne Jobs People Do) by F. Brooks
Pet Vet, The (Real Kids Readers) by Marcia Leonard
I'm Going to Be a Vet by Edith Kunhardt

Language Arts

Note: If you are working on the notebook/lapbook project, you may want to include a special section for British vocabulary words (English words that aren't necessarily words we use in America).  Here's some help for British Words not used in the United States.

Author Study:  James Herriot
James Herriot was the pen name for James Alfred Wight, also known as Alf Wight (October 1916 – February 1995), a British veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his enormously popular semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small.

Go to the
James Herriot Website to learn about the life and times of James Herriot.
Read about James Herriot at wikipedia

Timeline of James Herriot's Life (from website mentioned above)
James Herriot born James Alfred Wight Sunderland Eng 3 October 1916
Moved to Glasgow, Scotland as child, late October 1916
Attended Yoker Primary School, August 1921 - June 1928
Attended Hillhead High School, September 1928 - 30 June 1933
Graduated Glasgow Veterinary College in 1939
Joined Yorkshire practice of J. Donald Sinclair in 1940
Married Joan Catherine Danbury, 5 November 1941
Son, James Alexander, born 13 February 1943
Daughter, Rosemary, born in 9 May 1947
Trip to USSR as sheep veterinarian, 28 October - 6 November 1961
Trip to Istanbul as cattle veterinarian, 8-10 August 1963
1966 begins writing
Receives American Veterinary Medical Association's Award of Appreciation, 4 February 1975
1978 BBC TV Series begins
Receives Order of the British Empire and honorary Litt.D. from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 1979
Made fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 1982
1983, receives honorary D.V.Sc. from Liverpool University
23 February 1995 Dies of cancer at home in Yorkshire

Moses the Kitten

byre, cleats (of an animal), draughty, rime-covered rushes, opacity, morsel, engulfed, sow, cosseted, incongruous, connoisseurs, siesta, placidly, porcine, congenial, colleagues


Descriptive language

Reread the first page aloud to the child.  Have the child close his eyes while you read.  How to the words make you feel?  Now look closely at the words and phrases the author chose to make you feel that way.  He used words like heaterless, draughty (drafty), uncharitable, woolen-gloved, wind tore, managed to crash the door shut, stumbling, frozen, muffled, icy gusts biting, hammering painfully, streaming-eyed, dead opacity.

Ask:  Have you ever been outside on such a day?  Was this a good description?  Authors choose their words very carefully in order to not just tell us, but to show us-- to make us feel and know.


Only One Woof


Lobsided, charm, crook (shepherd’s), glinted, stooks, competitors, bounding, basking, tweed, Aye!


Hyphenated words
are compound words which are separated by a hyphen when the new word is an adjective just before its modified noun (well-known actor).  We use hyphenated words when we write fractions (two-thirds) and compound numbers (twenty-seven), for certain prefixes (un-American) and suffixes (president-elect) for clearer meaning, and for coined contemporary compound words (gave me that come-and-get-me look)

Make a list of all the hyphenated words that you find in this story: Lop-sided, tail-wagging, harvest-time, bright-eyed, deer-stalker, open-necked, open-mouthed


The suffix –less is added to end of an adjective to change the meaning of the word so it means “without”.  So when the Gyp is called “soundless” it means he is “without sound” or unable to bark.


Bonny’s Big Day

Lame, Pincers, Fetlock, Clod-hoppers, Regalia, Plaited, Rosette


words that help describe a noun, pronoun or another adjective.  They make the sentence more interesting and gives the reader a clearer picture.  Color words and numbers are always adjectives. Ex. TALL tree is much better than just “tree”, and FAT, FLUFFY, WHITE cat is much better than just “cat”.  Can you find adjectives in the story? (pleasant times, massive bulls).  Encourage your student to use good adjectives when he writes (remember, though, too many adjectives are burdensome for the reader).

The Christmas Day Kitten

Action Verbs and Descriptive Adverbs

This story is filled with wonderfully imaginative action verbs and descriptive adverbs!  Verbs are words that you can DO! Adverbs are words that tell HOW or WHERE it was done!

Some of the verbs and adverbs found in this story include: moving quietly, creep in, slip away, sitting very upright, sniffed, flopping, pops through, gaze quietly, leaned away, nibbling daintily, flitting away, winked, huddled close, staggered, streaking away, boxing, bounded, etc.

Activity- Make a list of them, cut them apart, and take turns acting out a verb and adverb. 


Creative Writing

Activity- Write a paragraph about the best Christmas present you ever received.  Decorate your margins with Christmas items, stickers, or rubber stamps, or cut around it with fancy craft scissors and glue it onto red or green cardstock or construction paper.


Blossom Comes Home

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositions are CONNECTING words—they connect a noun or a pronoun to the rest of the sentence.  The preposition plus the noun or pronoun (called the object of the preposition) and any modifying adjectives is called the prepositional phrase.  There are 56 prepositions which we use quite often in our speech: about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, as, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, concerning, despite, down, during, except, excepting, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, onto, out, outside, over, past, regarding, round, since, through, throughout, till, to, toward, under, underneath, unlike, until, up, upon, with, without, within.  Make a list of prepositional phrases from the story (outside Dorrowby, on a warm April morning, down to the river, on the water, on the flower-strewn pastures, in the cow barn, by his drooping moustache, in no hurry, on the old cow’s back, in that stall, for twelve years)


Market Square Dog

Bonny, Cobbled, Devoured, Fringed,  Wee,  Mongrel, Anesthetic, Enquired


Action Verbs

Verbs are what the subject of the sentence is or is doing.  Action verbs tell us what the subject is doing and therefore shows action.  Here’s a list of some action verbs from the story.  Activity-Have the child act them out and make it into a game by reading the list of words faster and faster (as long as the child enjoys this exercise).  TRADE turns for even more fun!

List from the story--Threw, sitting, begging, trotted, nudged, stopped, stretched, pointing, nodded, munching, squatting, turned, standing.

Writing: Linking Verbs vs. Action Verbs
With your older student you may want to discuss the importance of using action verbs in writing.  Linking verbs describe no action -- they merely state an existing condition or relationship (am, is, are, were, was, be, being, been, etc.).   As a writer, you can make your writing more varied and interesting if you try to use action verbs as much as possible.

Verb Tense
You could also take this opportunity to explain the differences between past and present verbs and that we add –ed to make past tense and –ing to make present tense verbs.  Change the above listed past tense verbs to present tense and visa versa.  You may need to make up sentences so the child can clearly see past and present use of the verb.  Try to stay away from irregular past tense for this lesson (going, went/gone)


Oscar, Cat About Town
Sentence Types

There are 4 kinds of sentences and three kinds of punctuation for those sentences.

  1. A declarative sentence makes a statement and is punctuated with a period.

(Sarah played tennis today.)

  1. An interrogative sentence asks a question and is punctuated with a question mark.  (Did you see the new dog?)
  2. An imperative sentence gives a command and ends with a period.

      (Put your shoes in your closet.)

  1. An exclamatory sentence expresses strong feeling and ends with an exclamation

      point.  (A spider is on your back!)

Activity- take a large piece of paper or poster board and divide it into 4 equal parts (either 4 squares or 4 rectangles).  Use a marker to mark your divisions and label each section with one of each of the names of the 4 kinds of sentences.  Now go through the story and find examples of each kind of sentence, writing them on the paper or poster board.

1. Declarative—there are TONS –pick any number of them

2. Interrogative- You mean you want to keep him?  What do you mean?  Did you see that funny cat in there? And several others

3. Imperative- (now this one is harder so remind them it sounds like a bossy big sister) You’d better take him.  Please come and see him whenever you like. Come in, and have a cup of tea.

4. Exclamatory- there’s lots of these too.  I think I see Oscar in there! He’s a socialite! Exactly, a high-stepper!  A swinger!  A cat-about-town! Tiger!   Oh Tiger, Tiger!


Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb

a writing technique in which the writer gives hints and clues to the reader of what is to happen later in the story.

Example from the story—“Smudge was one of those lambs.”

What do you think will happen?  Will it be good or bad?


A reiteration of the same initial consonant sounds, which can be done for effect.  From the story---little lost lamb (repetition of L sound).

Encourage your student to make up some examples of alliteration.  Try using the words beautiful, wonderful, silly, great, joyful, happy, small, etc. (example-- small smelly smoke). 


“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”  
Discuss what this means.  Did Smudge find that freedom was all he thought it would be?  Is there anything you are wishing for that could have a negative effect?  You may also want to discuss the quote, "the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence."  What does this mean?


Fine Arts

Music: Brass band A brass band is a musical group consisting of brass instruments, often with a percussion section.  A brass band in the English tradition with a full compliment of players generally comprises 8-10 cornets, 1 flugelhorn, 3 tenor horns, 2 baritones, 2 euphoniums, 3 trombones (2 tenors and 1 bass), 4 tubas, and percussion. There is a long tradition of competition between brass bands, often based around local industry and communities.

Learn about the different types of brass instruments with your student. 
Label Brass Instruments

Art Lessons
note:  the art lessons are not complete, lessons with ** still need work.

Comparing and Contrasting Illustrators
Some of the books were illustrated by Brown and others were illustrated by Barret.  Sort the stories into two different piles.  Which illustrator does your student like the best?  What things does your student like about each illustrator?

Illustrator Study: Ruth Brown
Ruth Brown was born in Devon in 1941. At the end of the war the family moved to Germany but returned to England in 1953 and they settled in Bournemouth.

Ruth always had a natural talent for drawing and at 16 she attended Art College, first in Bournemouth then Birmingham at the age of 18. She then went to the Royal College of Art in London in 1961. She gained a National Diploma in Design (first class honors) in 1961, and became an Associate of the Royal College of Art in 1964. She married a fellow student, Ken Brown that year. During her working life Ruth has always been a freelance illustrator.

Initially she worked mainly for BBC television, specializing in programs for children including Playschool and Jackanory, but also illustrated a few of James Herriot's books.

Illustrator Study:  Peter Barrett
is a British painter as well as an illustrator, graphic designer, and children's book author.  He is best known for illustrating the James Herriot stories as well as for his detailed watercolor paintings of English countryside and wildlife. 


Peter Barrett's career as an illustrator took off after writing and illustrating a three book series for very young children, along with his wife Susan Barrett. Published by Ward Lock, the books (The Circle Sara Drew, The Square Ben Drew, The Line Sophie Drew) became very popular. Barrett subsequently concentrated on animal art and illustrations, illustrating numerous children's non-fiction books, specializing in dogs, horses and dinosaurs. His illustrations for Birdwatcher's Diary, by Roger Lovegrove, in 1982 drew critical acclaim.

He also illustrated a number of Little Golden Books for children.  He has also illustrated the 1987 Random House edition of the children's classic The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, and in 2005, he illustrated the 65th Anniversary Edition of Three Little Pigs.

Moses the Kitten
**How to make a winter scene
Winter scenes-note grey skies, bare hills, snow, browns


**Soft colors


**Texture details
wool, fur, stone, wood, hands


Contrast the backgrounds on the opening page with Moses with the sow on the 2nd to last page.  What is different?  Why?


Only One Woof

Study details of pages 1 and 2—the gates and doors—where do they go and why do you think they are where they are?


Bonny’s Big Day

**Drawing Horses
How to Draw Horses book suggestion


**Humor in Illustrations
enjoy the “photo” on the last page


Christmas Day Kitten
Color Palette

Look at the page with the three dogs and Debbie in front of the fireplace. 

Activity- List the colors that you see.  Reds, oranges, yellows, golds, and browns-- all warm colors. Discuss how that illustration makes you feel.  Contrast it with the illustration two pages later. Note how lonely Debbie looks out in that big field by herself. Get out some paints and mix warm colors to get more warm colors.  Paint a scene with a fire in a fireplace.  If your student wants, add a Bassett Hound or two (or three!) and a cat or even your own pet.


Blossom Comes Home

Painting Sheer Curtains

Cut out a landscape scene and glue down on a paper that is not white.  Draw a window around it in black ink or marker.  Take white tempera paint, water it down, and use a sponge to create sheer curtains on the window.


Humor in Illustrations

Enjoy the humor of Blossom going down the street and everyone’s reactions.  Why are these illustrations humorous (what about them makes a person laugh)?


The Market Square Dog

Discuss high-walled gardens.  Encourage your student to paint one with flowers, trees, etc.


Color Palette
Discuss the warm colors of policeman’s home (red, yellow, oranges)  vs. cool colors of garden (purples, greens, blues).  How do they each make you feel?


Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb


Discuss the three arched stoned bridges




Moses the Kitten

The mother pig (sow) adopted Moses, nursed him, and cared for him.  God adopts us into His family.  Read and discuss Romans 8:14-17 and Galatians 4:5-7.


Bible Story:  Moses
Where did the farmer’s wife get the name Moses?  Read the account of Moses being found in Exodus 2.


Only One Woof

Gyp seems to be lonely when his brother is sold to another sheep farmer.  Sometimes we too can feel lonely.  Here are some verses to remember when we are feeling lonely:  Psalm 25: 1 and16; Matthew 28:10.


Bonny’s Big Day

Old Age
Bonny is getting old, however she is not too old to dazzle and impress others.  Old age is not a time to totally quit and do nothing.  It is also a time in which honor is due. Proverbs 10:27, I Peter 3:10, Proverbs 16:31, Ps 71:9, 92:14.


Getting along with gruff people
Sometimes in life we will encounter people who seem or are gruff.  We must not take it as an insult to ourselves.  We do not know what or understand what has happened to that person to make him so.  Here are a few verses which may help us in getting along with gruff people

Romans 12:18, 14:19 and I Corinthians 7:14 and I Thessalonians 5:13 and Hebrews 12:14 and I Timothy 2:2


Christmas Day Kitten

Read the Christmas story found in Luke 2.


Blossom Comes Home

Animal Instinct
Just how did Blossom find her way back home?  God gave each animal some instincts so it can survive.  Read God’s account of how He cares for the animals He created in Job 39-41.

Activity-Read other stories of animals who found their way home after being lost, moving, etc.
Library List


The Market Square Dog

Dealing with Disappointment
Dr. Herriot and his wife had to deal with the disappointment of their picnic plans being changed with a good attitude.  We would do well to train ourselves to deal with disappointment in the same way—with maturity, kindness, creativity, and the ability to be cheerful despite the change in plans or disappointment felt.  We should not react with pouting, angry words, or misbehavior.  Read and discuss:  Psalm 143:10;  Ephesians 5:1, 2; I John 3:18; Colossians 3:12-13; Philippians 2:4; Ephesians 4:32; Proverbs 19:11; Luke 6:31


Proverbs 12:10
In what ways do Dr. Herriot and young policeman exemplify Proverbs 12:10?


Oscar, Cat About Town

Parable of the Lost Sheep
Oscar seems to have gotten lost—AGAIN!  However, he is soon found.  Read Luke 15 (the parable of lost sheep) and discuss how did Dr. and Mrs. Herriot are like the shepherd in this parable.


Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb
Smudge does not seem to be content in the security of the fences or of being well cared for by his mama sheep and the farmer.  He longs to be free of the confines he finds himself—much to the risk of his health, safety, and life.  The following verses tell us how to be content where God puts us: Proverbs 19:23; Philippians 4:11-12; I Corinthians 7:17.


Parable of the Lost Son
At the end of Smudges adventures he finds himself to be lost and he can’t get back to the safe confines of the field or to his mother.  Read the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15. How is Smudge like the lost son?



Moses the Kitten

How long is this? Make a calendar, mark/highlight a fortnight.


Only One Woof

Column Addition

Count Mr. Wilkin’s animals







Grand Total

Seasons and Months
List the references and use them to create a timeline of the story.  How much time passes during this story?  (8 years)


Bonny’s Big Day

Months of the Year
Make a year-long calendar.  Show the child how the days go in the same order all year long, even as the name of the month changes. 


Discuss what it means to be frugal.  How can you tell Mr. Skipton is frugal?  The next time you are shopping with your student at the grocery store, give him some choices and ask him to make the frugal choice. 


Story Problem

How old are the horses now?  How long ago did they stop working?  How old were they when they stopped working?

Christmas Day Kitten

Geometric shapes

The illustrations are full of geometric shapes.

Activity- Make lists of the shapes found in the illustrations; squares (windows, tiles, flooring, etc), triangles (neckline, town clock, shawl, etc), rectangles (houses, door panels, window sills, etc), and circles (tires, rocks, clock face, etc), arches (windows, chairs, etc.)

Activity- Using geo-blocks, make some patterns of your own.  You can cut shapes out of colored cardstock or construction paper or use commercial wood or plastic ones.

Here’s a Label the Shapes printout


Oscar, Cat About Town


Discuss a week with your student.   Learn the names of the days of the weeks.

20 miles—how far is that?  Use a map to locate a place familiar to your child that is about 20 miles away.


Animals (pets and farm)
James Herriot is a veterinarian who encounters and cares for many farm animals and pets.  As you go through each book collect data on the animals mentioned, then compile the information into a MY FARM ANIMAL BOOK or minit-book and into a MY PET BOOK or minit-book.


Here's the list of animals that will be studied in each book (arranged by title) and links to find printable pages for the book pages or information for the minit-books your child will make.  Most of these links are from Enchanted Learning.  If you are a member, there are extra things you can print to enhance this lesson. Or you may use library books or an encyclopedia, etc to get the information you need. Pictures could be freely drawn, taken from coloring books, or magazines, clip-art at websites, hand-copied from the Herriot stories using tracing paper, traced from library books, etc.  


Discuss--what is the difference between a farm animal and a pet?

Discuss--Can a Farm Animal ever be or become a pet?  Why and When?  Are there examples in these stories?  Which ones?  Which animals?


Enchanted Learning's Farm Animal book (members only) 

Farm Animal File Folder Game for your young student

Enchanted Learning's Pet Animal Worksheet

Farm Animal link with LOTS of games, activities, etc

Pet link with games, activities, etc.


Moses the Kitten



Cow Book 


Only One Woof

Sheep Dogs (farm animal) 




chickens Be sure to click on "All About Chickens" link



Bonny's Big Day

Draft horses




dogs can you match the breed to the illustrations?



budgies (sometimes mistakenly called parakeets) this was the closest thing I could find



Blossom Comes Home

Milk cows


The Market Square Dog

Mutt dog


Oscar, Cat About Town



Smudge, The Little Lost Lamb


Dale Ponies - horse

Bull  (see COW link; white-out the udder and put a ring in its nose)


The Christmas Day Kitten

cat and kitten

Bassett Hound dogs


Ring in a Bull’s Nose (this lesson goes with Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb)

While exploring his freedom and the having to run from a barking, snarling dog, Smudge encounters an enormous bull with a ring in its nose.  Why do farmers/ranchers put a ring in a bull’s nose?  

Rings are put in bull's noses for discipline purposes.  It helps the farmer lead the bull to where he needs the bull to go. Usually it's done when the critter is six to eight months old. You put the bull in a restraining device called a head gate, then you get a long pointed steel rod and possibly some local anesthetic.  The ring, which is brass, can be as big as six ounces and three inches in diameter for larger bulls; it has a hinge in it to help get it on.

Who should ring a bull? 
This is a job for a veterinarian due to the following reasons:
The welfare of the bull - the septum of the nose is a very sensitive area. Pinch your own to confirm this. The new Animal Welfare Act dictates that the bull should not suffer pain. Restraining a bull is a dangerous job and you need a decent modern head bail and preferably a crush too. With inadequate facilities the bull may need a general tranquilizer. If you mess the job up, the bull will associate all that pain and stress with you, and he will remember! 

Bull Basics


(Sources:  "Nose Ringing a Bull" by Dr. Clive Dalton,

Bottle-Feeding Farm Animals (this lesson goes with Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb)
You shouldn't bottle feed a baby animal unless you absolutely have to, if you do, use a bag of veterinarian approved milk replacer and NEVER feed cows milk to any other kind of animal but calves.  God has created each kind of animal with different needs and given each kind of mother just the perfect milk for its own young (goat’s milk for kids, sheep’s milk for lambs, horse’s milk for foals, and cow’s milk for calves).  Humans must be extremely careful to not overfeed a bottle-fed animal as it can cause many problems.  In our story, it doesn’t say what kind of milk Penny and her mother fed Smudge, but most likely it was cow's milk.  It also says they fed it two bottles-full of the milk.  From what I read, they are very fortunate they did not physically harm Smudge by doing so.  If you meet a baby animal that seems lost or abandoned, it is highly recommended that you first call a veterinarian to get his advice before you try to feed it.

Aging Animals (this lesson goes with Blossom Comes Home and Bonny's Big Day)
Elderly animals need special care, whether they are pets or farm animals so they stay healthy and don’t suffer from old age or disease.  A wise farmer or rancher will stop using the elderly animal like it was once used and pamper it with a warm safe place to rest, good food, and visits by a veterinarian.  Ask the child if he thinks Mr. Dakin is taking good care of Blossom in her old age and how he can tell (or ask if Mr. Skipton is taking good care of Bonny in her old age and how he can tell).

Taking Care of an Aging Horse
One year of a horse's life is equal to an average of three years of a human's life; thus a 15-year-old horse is equivalent to a 45-year-old person.
It is estimated that about 20% of the horse population in the United State's are horses over 15 years old. Most of these equine senior citizens can remain productive and useful for most of their lifespan with proper diet and lifestyle.

Aging horses need regular health care and a nutritious diet or serious problems may occur.  As horses get old, they are more likely to get an infectious disease; they also suffer the effects of climatic changes and the effects of parasitism are detrimental. 

The two main causes of loss of condition are poor teeth and reduced digestive ability. These two factors are linked, as the horse must be able to thoroughly chew his feed for proper digestion to proceed in the intestinal tract. An examination of the manure will tell you if your horse has a digestive problem; the presence of noticeable amounts of grain in the manure is a clue that much of the horse's feed is passing through underutilized.

As the horse ages, his teeth become progressively worn, and once he hard enamel wears off, the softer dentin inside the teeth erodes faster and more unevenly. Teeth will be lost as the rooted portions become shorter and weakened from years of grinding feed. Broken teeth and root abscesses are also more common in older horses.  Because of this, older horses should have their teeth checked every 6-12 months by a veterinarian. 

Nutrition is the key factor in maintaining the health of the aged horse. As mentioned before, it is linked to the ability to chew and digest, but the older horse is also prone to decreased digestive efficiency in the intestinal tract. One needs to choose feeds that are easy to chew, highly digestible and made with top-quality ingredients.  Older horses also need a higher amount (and quality) of protein as well as higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals. 

(source: "Care of the Geriatric Horse" by Dr. N. Lee Newman)

Tetanus (this lesson goes with Bonny's Big Day)  *this lesson is for an older student
Learn about tetanus in animals (you may also want to research tetanus in humans)

What causes tetanus?
Tetanus occurs when a wound becomes infected with bacterial spores of Clostridium tetani. These spores germinate, multiply and produce a very powerful poison which affects the muscles. Some cases of tetanus occur from wounds that are so small they are not noticed.

How do you know a horse is affected?
moves with a stiff-legged gait, often with the tail held out stiffly and the ears pricked. As the disease progresses the muscles become so rigid and stiff that the horse may fall and not be able to get up again. Convulsions may occur and death is caused by paralysis of the breathing muscles.

 *this lesson/research option is for an older student
In four of the books, Moses the Kitten, The Christmas Day Kitten, Oscar, Cat About Town, and Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb, the main animal characters are exposed to extreme weather and most likely suffer from some form of hypothermia.  After reading the edited information below about Animal Hypothermia (read as much as you think your child can understand), create a chart to classify each level of hypothermia each animal had.  Compare and contrast how the Farmer Butler and his wife treated Moses, how Mrs. Pickerling treated Debbie, how Dr. Herriot and his wife treated Oscar, and how Penny Robinson and her mother treated Smudge.  Research hypothermia.  Determine if they treated the animals correctly according to the level of hypothermia of each animal.

Hypothermia is a lowering of the body's temperature so the ability to regain normal temperature is lost, but the animal may survive if external heat is applied so that normal temperature returns. To know the severity of hypothermia is valuable to decide the re-warming technique to be used for treatment. On the basis of body temperature, hypothermia can be classified as Mild (86 -89 F), Moderate (71- 77 F) and Severe (32- 46.5). There are three re-warming techniques (Passive external, Active external, and Active internal) which should be used according to severity of hypothermia.    Excellent article on Hypothermia

Research Options and Rabbit Trails


Moses the Kitten

Farming in the 1940s in England

Cats- colors and markings


Only One Woof

Training Sheep Dogs 

Bonny’s Big Day

Horse colors

Draft Horse Breeds

Horse Drawn equipment and harness



The Market Square Dog
Occupations: Police

How does a doorbell work?

Teaching a dog tricks


Oscar, Cat About Town

Cats- colors and markings


Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb

Dales Ponies-breed of pony in Great Britain

Castles of Great Britain (seen in background)

Blizzard (dangers and survival)

Cardboard boxes—how are they made