This is the most exquisite book I have seen this year. The Lost Words features beautiful illustrations of British wildlife by the amazing Jackie Morris, who did the classic children’s picture book The Snow Leopard (due out soon in a new edition). Words are by Robert Macfarlane, one of our outstanding nature writers, known for The Old Ways and Mountains of the Mind. In his book Landmarks, Macfarlane had focussed on nature words being lost from everyday usage, particularly those from local dialects.
These two working together make for an enchanting combination. There is a great interview with Jackie and Robert explaining how they made the book, and Jackie explains: “So, it was Robert’s idea to make this a ‘spell-book’ – to have three spreads per word, the first marking a loss, a slipping away, the second being a summoning spell, and the third being the word spelled back into language, hearts, minds and landscape.”
This book, for all ages, defines key English nature words. And so, for otter: “Otter enters river without falter – what a/supple slider out of holt and into water!”
This is a big book – 37 by 28cm, giving full space to the luminous illustrations. It would make an gorgeous present for anyone with a love of the natural world. If that wasn’t enough, each purchase supports Action for Conservation, funding the next generation of conservationists and with a particular focus on disadvantaged and socially excluded children. The goldfinches on the cover are reason enough to buy it, and as Riverside visitors will know we have our own tame charm of goldfinches upstairs in the shop.