Beautiful and sad in equal measure. In The Lost Words, words and nature combine to create magical poems that are an ode to flora, fauna and animals. Robert Macfarlane’s acrostic poems are beautiful and evoked strong feelings of sadness for a world that is rapidly disappearing.
I remember growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and spending my life playing on the streets and in fields and woodlands. The joy at finding conkers and acorns, at watching fish splash in the rivers and streams, hearing birds chirping and maybe even spotting a rabbit or a field mouse. This book is a wonderful reminder of such a time but it is also a stark reminder of a world that children no longer inhabit and really do seem to be missing out on.
There are twenty acrostic poems in alphabetical order including Acorn, Kingfisher, Otter and Willow. Ross Macfarlane’s poetic words are mesmerising and evocative. His words that were once part of everyday life have slipped from our minds and are in danger of reaching extinction. I was staggered to read that the Oxford Junior Dictionary had chosen to replace many words associated with nature and the countryside with words that were deemed more relevant to the twenty-first century child. The fact that words such as acorn, buttercup and conker can be replaced by attachment, blog and chatroom makes me shudder.
I truly hope that The Lost Words will find a home in many schools and households because every child and adult should have the opportunity to read these very precious words. Accompanying Macfarlane’s spellbinding prose are wonderful watercolour illustrations by the incredible Jackie Morris. The book is stunning to look at and is possibly the most beautiful book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
The words have definitely been found and we should all guard these incredibly important words very closely to ensure that they never disappear ever again. The Lost Words is published as a large format coffee-table sized book with thick pages that will hold up to endless hours of exploration.
A book that can genuinely be enjoyed by readers of any age.