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Book of ‘nature spells’ to be turned into free livestreamed show

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The Lost Spells has become a hit at a time when many of us are looking to connect with nature. It will soon get a stage adaptation

A children’s nature book designed to conjure wonder in the natural world will be put to music for a live concert to be broadcast by the Natural History Museum.

The Lost Spells book is the work of nature writer Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris, the same pair behind the award-winning children’s nature tome The Lost Words.

Their latest offering contains conjurings, charms, tonguetwisters, blessings and lullabies, all designed to evoke wonder in everyday nature, and serve as a reminder of what we lose when nature slips away. The pocket-sized book is accompanied by educational notes, printable poems and a free-to-download explorer’s guide.

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The Lost Spells has proven a hit online. A video showing schoolchildren in Doncaster reciting one of its poems has been viewed more than 11,000 times on Twitter. Many people – adults as well as children – have also responded to callouts from bookshops, which asked people to write their own poems about nature and post them on social media.

Released in October, The Lost Spells arrived at a time when many people were looking to re-establish their connection with nature having been shut away at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Lost Spells

A poem about moths from The Lost Spells.

Inspired by the book’s success, the Natural History Museum in London has announced that it will put poems from The Lost Spells to music as part of a livestreamed show also featuring content from The Lost Words. The Spell Songs performance is due to take place on 27 April and will be free to watch, although donations are encouraged.

Fittingly, the show will raise money for the museum’s Urban Nature Project, which aims to transform an unremarkable five-acre site in South Kensington into an accessible and biologically diverse green space.

The Lost Spells: illustrations Jackie Morris, words Robert Macfarlane / Hamish Hamilton


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