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The Lost Words

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  998 ratings  ·  255 reviews
From Acorn to Weasel: a gorgeous, hand-illustrated, large-format spellbook celebrating the magic and wonder of the natural world

All over the country, there are words disappearing from children's lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children's m
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Hamish Hamilton
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Kate This book is nonfiction poetry.

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4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  998 ratings  ·  255 reviews

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Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a tradition each year to try and find a book I can read in a day that will be some kind of foretelling of the reading year to come. I almost didn’t this year. Then I picked up The Lost Words, a spell book in case there’s ever a time people can’t remember nature, and I’m so so glad I did as I was bowled over by this. Stunning art, poems and intention. Quirky. Different. Just how I want my reading in 2018. Perfect.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gone are the days when children’s alphabets would begin with A is for Acorn, B is for butterfly and C is for caterpillar. Now days it is likely to be A is for Acer, B is for Blackberry and C is for Cisco. Back in 2015, The Oxford University Press dropped around 50 words that were drawn from the natural world from the latest edition of its Junior dictionary; they argued that it was less relevant as children were spending less time outside and were glued to the screen of a tablet or phone. The ala ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for children. Which I didn't know at first so I was surprised by the choices of "lost words" used in this book as I didn't think them lost at all. Then I read the book's description and thus found out that the 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was missing around forty common words concerning nature. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The authors thought this could not be, should not be - and I quite agree ...more
Beth  Bennett
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Absolutely stunning, both words and illustrations. Deserves more than 5 stars.
It is a shame that these words that were part of my countryside childhood have become lost to the children of today. It is quite scary.
This work of art is sublime. The empty spaces speak volumes and truly complement the art work throughout.
The spells are composed and sound magical when read aloud, as intended. Yes, I did verbalise them.
This is a book I shall return to again and again.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: I wouldn't recommend
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
From reading goodreads reviews I gather this book was inspired by a list of words removed from the oxford children's dictionary although it doesn't mention this in the book. Not knowing this I could only go by what the book says it is about- words that have vanished from the language of children. I just don't understand, words like conker, dandelion and starling have not vanished from the language of children and even in poor built up areas of city, children are well aware of what these are. I e ...more
Alice Lippart
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely gorgeous.
Viv JM
5* for the illustrations
4* for the poetry

This ENORMOUS book is really quite beautiful. The "lost words" of the title are words children used to know - like acorn, bramble, magpie, wren - and these words are the subject of charming acrostic poems coupled with some of the most stunning artwork I have ever seen in a children's book.

A lovely book, to be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Just take a big bag to carry it home in :-)
Gumble's Yard
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Buy this book for the children in your life, or if there are none for your inner child
Ich habe mir dieses vielgelobte Buch zu Weihnachten geschenkt oder besser gesagt bestellt. Und gestern erst bekommen, weil zunächst die zweite Auflage gedruckt werden musste.

Ich mag dieses Buch wirklich sehr gerne, vor allem das Format, das Papier, die Illustrationen von Tieren und Pflanzen, die über die Seiten geworfenen Buchstaben. Bei den Texten wird es etwas schwieriger und ich befürchte, dass die Übersetzung hier ein wenig den Zauber beeinträchtigt. Natürlich müssen Gedichte nicht immer rei
Callum McLaughlin
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is something of a call to action, lest we allow children to lose touch with the natural world and all its wonder. Self-styled as a 'spell book', it brings together the acrostic poems of Robert Macfarlane and the beautiful artwork of Jackie Morris. Each piece is centred around an animal or plant type, the name of which is disappearing from every day use in children's vocabularies, with some having been removed from junior dictionaries altogether.

The poems themselves are very playful, wi
Ellie Labbett
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, nature, poetry
Beautiful and full of life, 'The Lost Words' is an incredible collection of illustrations and poetry that will ignite curiosity towards nature within every reader. To me, the poetry feels like it is written in an all knowing voice, as if it has been waiting to speak for years. The attention to small complex details woven throughout the book made me question how much I really notice about nature- despite having lived in the countryside for the majority of my life.
There are two sides to this book
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, it arrived this morning and I was quite surprised at the sheer size of it. It is around A3 in size but after reading it the beauty of it couldn't be shown in anything smaller in my opinion. It's not a book heavy in words, but Robert Macfarlane's Acrostic Poetry is divine and Jackie Morris' Artwork in the book is beyond words.

The message of the book is clear , children are losing the "wild streak" and nature and it's beauty are being forgotten. My chil
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am still astounded by the size of this beautiful book!

The first thing I did was inhale the pages, the ink, the paper. 🤓❤📖

This is the kind of tome I hope to see when I travel in my dreams and can see the books I am reading. 🌜

The artistry and craft is heart-achingly lovely and wonderfully rich, nourishing my love of words and nature and painting. Inspired. 😍
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautiful, breathtaking books I have ever had the pleasure to read and own. It is absolutely impossible not to pour over these pages, taking in every minute, perfectly captured detail of Jackie Morris' illustrations or to read over and over the accompanying acrostic poems. This truly is a spellbinding spell book. The choice of vocabulary is meticulous and precise. Reading them made my heart race and brought tears to my eyes, so moved was I by the beauty. Everyone must rea ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It kā jau buramvārdi, bet vairāk gan dzejvārdi par daudziem ļoti svarīgiem, bet bieži vien nepamanāmiem dzīvas dabas iemītniekiem. Bezgala skaistas ilustrācijas, un lielais formāts visam piešķir dubultu brīnišķību.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Vanessa by: Jen Campbell why books are important
Shelves: ya, art-is-fancy, booktube
At first blush, you may be forgiven for thinking this is a children's book (and it is that too), when it's really a work of art disguised as a children's book.

British environmental writer Robert Macfarlane collaborated with the artist Jackie Harris to produce this book of acrostic verses accompanied by gorgeous watercolors, much of it decorated with gold leaf that gives the pictures a warm, medieval sheen (and yeah, those two adjectives probably don't belong in juxtaposition with one another, b
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, animals, art, poetry
This had the potential to be amazing, but turned out to be puzzling. For one thing, the words selected and considered "lost" ARE still in use. And the poetry was acrostic, which is fine, just not what I expected in such a lavishly lovingly imagined book. Perhaps my expectations were off, and it's just me.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: outdoor-learning
This book is absolutely stunning! Jackie Morris' art work is so beautiful and Robert Macfarlane's spell poems really do sound so magical when read aloud!
We feel like this is a particularly important book because we do need our children of today to grow up outside, exploring and enjoying nature, the last page does state that a proportion of the each books royalties are donated to 'Action for Conservation, a charity dedicated to inspiring young people to take action for the natural world...'
So beautiful and the illustrations are wonderful. The long long wait for it from the library was so worth it.

I want to get my own copy to keep.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: everyone
Beautiful, oversized--picture book seems too pedestrian a description for this wonder, but that's one thing it is. Work of art and protest and nature meditation might be better. Just over 10 years ago, the Oxford Junior Dictionary added modern words like "blog" and "chatroom" and "broadband" while, sadly, it removed others, most describing the natural world. A protest to this natural world word-culling grew among well known writers and artists and this volume resulted. Among the titular lost wor ...more
Eleanor Abbott
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In 2007 when the Oxford Children Dictionary was reviewed around 40 common words were dropped. Apparently, this was due to the fact they were no longer being used so were being replaced with more modern words such as blog, emoji and attachment. The removed words were very naturalistic and outdoors-y, and were being replace by very current, indoor slang. This contrast was seen as a powerful sign of the reduction of child-nature interaction these days. To celebrate the lost words Robert McFarlane c ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe should be 5 stars, but the book is so large that it is unwieldy. Lovely illustrations and lovely poems, though.
Linda Robinson
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superlatives fail to capture the magic of this beautiful, spellbinding, necessary book. Jackie Morris wrote to Robert Macfarlane once upon a time to suggest he write the nature words the Oxford Junior Dictionary was removing from the recent edition. This precious enormous book is what happened when Robert Macfarlane wrote back to Jackie Morris. The words and the art together. Words that children will not be able to look up/see/hear in everyday nature language. Children, says the Oxford children' ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is stunning! And full of the kind of magic we need in the world. Highly recommend!!
Miss Lynham
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend!!
This book is simply stunning!! I have to admit I am in love with the beauty of this book.
I was privileged to meet the illustrator Jackie Morris at an event held at my local Waterstones last night. It was lovely to hear the powerful story behind the book, how it came to be.
As a book lover I am always keen to share books but with this one I find myself wanting to share it with everyone I meet. It’s beautifully written and illustrated. The pictures and spells (poems) work in perf
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
A spellbinding piece of publishing which is a feast for both the ears and the eyes. A beautiful book which should be pored over, treasured and read aloud when ever the opportunity arises. Robert's words and Jackie's illustrations conjure up a natural world that we should all long to be part of, one filled with mystery, wonder and enchantment. It saddens me so that this world is one much unknown by the younger generations but perhaps this book can act as a gateway to entice them in. Pick up a cop ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Gorgeously written and visually stunning. Only gripe is that I figured it would be about words that have been lost or forgotten about...not words every one knows and still uses- regardless would still recommend to everyone- child to adult-this will captivate anyone.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Perfect match.
They'll have you
dancing poetically
its pages and
the lost words
you hold
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
1. I love that this is presented as a spellbook. “It holds not poems but spells of many kinds that might just, by the old, strong magic of being spoken aloud, unfold dreams and songs, and summon lost words back into the mouth and the mind’s eye.”
2. Loved the acorn poem:
As flake is to blizzard, as
Curve is to sphere, as knot is to net, as
One is to many, as coin is to money, as bird is to flock, as
Rock is to mountain, as drop is to fountain, as
Spring is to river, as glint is to glitter, as
Near is
Tonstant Weader
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When the “Oxford Junior Dictionary” was released in 2007, several words were left out. These “lost words” had fallen into disuse. More dismaying, they were the words of outdoor life, words like dandelion, acorn, kingfisher, and otter. The loss of these words reflects the loss of unmediated nature. Children living lives of planned experiences, groomed parks and self-improving lessons who haven’t the freedom to pick dandelions and hold them under their chin and say “butter, butter” to see if their ...more
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Favourite spell 1 9 Oct 12, 2017 11:45AM  
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Robert Macfarlane is a British nature writer and literary critic.

Educated at Nottingham High School, Pembroke College, Cambridge and Magdalen College, Oxford, he is currently a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge.
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