The importance of this wonderful book is overwhelming. Its importance is not even outlined by the author, Robert Macfarlane, between its covers. To truly understand why this is such an important book, you must read the back cover:

“ When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary – widely used in schools around the world – was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. The words 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.” (Back Cover)

Isn’t that remarkable?

Isn’t that frightening?

When I originally borrowed this book from the library, it was because I love MacFarlane’s writing and wanted to read a children’s book he’d written.

Now I am part of the movement that does not want these words – and with them, these living beings, to be lost from childhood. Don’t you agree?

Imagine! Dandelion disappeared from the dictionary How can that be? They’re everywhere, in every field I see. Heron disappeared. There are herons all over the world, and you could not describe a Canadian wetland without the word heron.

Here is my question to whoever removed these words from the dictionary? Don’t you realize that if you remove these names of living things from our language that people will might stop thinking about them, might stop caring about them? Don’t you think you might be hastening their extinction?

So please join me. Buy a copy of The Lost Words: A Spell Book, written by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris. Read these words to children. Help these words – and these life forms – to continue to live.


(Note: I read the 2018 Anansi Press Inc. version of this book.)

One thought on “Book Review – The Lost Words : A Spell Book

  1. Andrew Fenus says:

    Otter, a fun loving creature with a sense of play ! Otter!

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