WHEN staff at Oxford University Press cut some nature words from a junior dictionary and replaced them with h-tech vocabulary they had no idea they would inspire a book now being delivered to every school in Scotland.

In 2015 Walton Street-based OUP decided to remove about 50 words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, aimed at seven-year-olds.

The updated dictionary did not feature words like acorn, bluebell and chestnut but did include broadband, blog and chatroom.

The decision prompted complaints from 29 authors, including former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo.

Nature writer Robert Macfarlane responded by teaming up with artist Jackie Morris to produce The Lost Words, and the book will now be delivered to all 2,681 primary, secondary and special schools in Scotland, plus Suffolk and Norfolk.

Mr Macfarlane told publishers Penguin Books: “Jackie and I have always thought of The Lost Words not as a children’s book but as ‘a book for all ages’ – or perhaps a book for children aged three to 100.

“We wanted it to be quite unlike any other book that exists.”

The book, published last year, takes the form of 20 ‘lost’ nature words inspiring a ‘spell’ by Macfarlane, which is intended to be read aloud.

Images painted by Ms Morris capture the absence of the plant or creature in its habitat.

A spokesperson from Oxford University Press said: “We feel strongly that nature is essential to children’s lives and are encouraged to see that this is such an important issue to people.

“Nature words are alive and well in our dictionaries – they are not lost.”

Bus driver Jane Beaton will deliver the books to Scottish schools.

Penguin Books spokeswoman Anna Ridley said: “The book has become a real phenomenon— as well as Scotland, Suffolk Wildlife Trust is raising money to get copies into every primary schools in Suffolk, and there’s something similar happening in Norfolk too.

“It’s won two awards and is being adapted into a composition for a children’s choir.”