I also connected to this book because it is celebrating something lost within a language, a form of linguistic revival that I find very effective.
Robert McFarlane, a professor from Cambridge, wrote this book when he found that the people who were compiling the Oxford English Dictionary were replacing words like acorn and adder with more computer related terms. It's a celebration of words that are no longer alive in the world of children.
It is filled with absolutely gorgeous illustrations of the lost word and an acrostic poem. Here are a few samples to get us started. This is the picture of the kingfisher.
Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker, river's quiver.
Ink-black bill, orange throat, and a quick blue back-gleaming feather-stream.
Neat and still it still on the snag of a stick, until with ...
Gold-flare, wing-fan, whipcrack the kingfisher - zingfisher, singfisher! -
Flashes down too fast to follow, quick and quicker carves its hollow
In the water, slings its arrow superswif to swallow
Stickleback or shrimp or minnow.
Halycon is its other name - also ripple-calmer, water nester,
Evening Angler, weather-teller, rainbringer and
Rainbow bird - that sets the stream alight with burn and glitter.
Let's try another. Here is a picture of a dandelion.
Dazzle me, little sun-of-the-grass!
And spin me, tiny time-machine! (Tick-tock, sun clock, thistle & dock)
Now no longer known as
Dent-de-Lion, Lion's Toothe or Windblow, (Tick-tock, sun clock, thistle & dock)
Evening Glow, Milkwitch or Parachute, so
Let new names take root, thrive and grow, (Tick-tock, sun clock, rattle & dock)
I would make you some, such as Bane of Lawn Perfectionists
Or Fallen Star of the Football Pitch or Scatterseed, but
Never would I call you only, merely, simply, 'weed'. (Tick-tock, sun clock, clover & dock)
It's a beautiful book illustrated by Jackie Morris. I would recommend this as a pick-me-up after a stress-filled day or as something to look at with young children. Children do look with awe and wonder and this book deserves that kind of attention!