4 out of 5 stars

When the Lost Words was released back in 2017 no one ever thought that it would become a phenomenon in its own right. It was conceived after the OUP dictionary removed several words relating to the natural world and Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris collaborated to produce a stunningly beautiful book that could teach children these words again. The poems or ‘spells’ from that book were put to music and there have been jigsaws and even a game.

This second book that takes the things that worked so well in the first book, the prose and Morris’s exquisite artwork and have packaged them into the more compact version here. As in the first book they have picked animals, plants and insects such as barn owls, moths, oak goldfinches and swifts and many others that have a few verses or lines of prose and then several pages of pictures.

I did like it a lot, Macfarlane’s prose has been deliberately written to be read out loud by parents and children and relies on repetition and rhythm and often onomatopoeia to bring these creatures alive in the pages of this book. It did amuse me that this is described as pocket-sized, whilst it is much more manageable than the first edition, you would still need a fairly large pocket to carry it around in. It is a stunning book, and that is mostly because of Jackie Morris’s artwork, it is so full of life. I did like the glossary at the end of the book with images of all the creatures to be found by the eager young naturalist.

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