The Lost Spells is the beautiful small sister of the Riverside favourite The Lost Words.
Superb illustrations of the natural world accompany poems or spells, to bring us closer to the non-human lives we live alongside. Morris’s The Snow Leopard remains one of my favourite books of all time. The images in the verses are as vivid. From snow hares to swifts, proper attention is paid. A hare runs through the snow: “Each long line of tracks a row of inkwells in the white”.
This art can act as a summoner, to bring these animals and plants into our everyday lives. If we don’t notice them, we miss out, and are less likely to act to protect them. The Lost Spells is a pleasure to fall into, despite its constant awareness of nature being under threat.
Happily, it doubles as a puzzle book – there’s a magic glossary at the back showing the animals and plants you can hunt for in the illustrations. You can hunt in real life too, as it is pocket size so that you can take it out and about with you, which is a delightful thought (even if you are curled up indoors staying warm). Just looking at the pictures will take you to another place. The perfect gift for a nature lover.