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The Lost Words

Length: 47 mins
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Publisher's Summary

Finalist, Wainwright Prize

In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary - widely used in schools around the world - was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around 40 common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions - the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual - became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that will conjure back 20 of these lost words and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book - a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.

©2018 Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (P)2018 Anansi Audio

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  • hmltwin
  • 2019-06-18

Really beautiful!

I got this as an audiblebook, because I'm a firm believer in the idea that poems should be read aloud to be fully appreciated. The authors intended it as a spell book for children - to teach them about the natural world. However, I think adults could, potentially, be just as entranced by the amazing wordcraft contained in this book. The print versions have some beautiful artwork, however the way in which the narrators read the poems meant that I didn't miss them terrible.

This is one of those books that I would "read" over and over. In fact, right after I finished it the first time, I jumped back to hear "Starling" again. The way the poems are written, it has a tremendous ability to not just reintroduce the words that are the titles of the poems to children, but other words (like murmuration) to people of all ages.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful