REVIEW: The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith

14 May 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing
Published: May 7th 2013
Pages: 208
Book: For Review*
Format: Finished Copy
Genre: Create, Hobbies, To-do.
Reviewed For: Spinebreakers
From the creator of Wreck This Journal, an exploration into the creative process and chance...
Within the pages of The Pocket Scavenger, you’ll be instructed to go on an unusual scavenger hunt, collecting a spectrum of random items: something that is miniature, a stain that is green, something from the year you were born, a used envelope, and more. Once your quarry is in hand, you’ll apply an alteration dictated solely by chance: create a funny character, make it into a building, conceal it, add polka-dots, remove a section, add stripes, scribble on top, fold, turn into an article of clothing, make it pretty,” and so on.
The results: you’ll be forced out of habitual ways of thinking or acting, discover new connections, and try things you might not have done on your own, creating a version of The Pocket Scavenger that is unique, dependent on time, place, experience, and you.

-From Goodreads
I was so excited when i got the opportunity to review this book for Spinebreakers. I'd heard so much about Wreck This Journal (which i really really really really want.) which she'd also done so when i finally got this book in the post  i jumped up and down in delight.
Now, this is the first journal-type-book i've ever had so please do not judge my ability to complete the pages but, i thought i'd do a more 'involved review to give you a little insight into the book, and show you the first couple of pages that i did when i first got it..but don't scroll down yet! read the rest of the review first!
So, the book. I found it hard to get into at first because it was going against what i'm used to; being a perfectionist. The book encourages people to push against the boundaries of 'normal' creativity and make something unique; which i think is good for people like me as it brings us out of our comfort zone.
The book is layed out with chapters, and you have to collect something different for each chapter. At the bottom of each page there is a red strip with a 'hint', written upside down. So what you have to do is go onto your first chapter, collect what you have to do, then flip to a random place in the book, turn the book upside down; read the hint and do what it tells you to do with that item you have collected.
Don't cheat though. Even if what it tells you to do goes against your grain, do it. you'll be surprised with the results.
The only worry i have with the book is that it will start to get tedious for the 'creater'. it is actually really hard to find the items you need to have, (which is why i'm only on chapter 5 lol. ( i am still waiting to find a feather for chapter 4 ) and i didn't show what i did for chapter five because it was to do with an envelope so it had my address on. ) so, for people like me, who love to see finished results quite quickly and have a limited amount of patience, the book may get discarded after maybe half the book and then forgotten about. so you really have to have sticking power if you want to get this book! Or just have patience. which i don't really have. Now, onto the pictures!
as you can see. the book gets slightly bulkier as you go along.
first page. i was so sad to use my 'abroad-y' stamps lol.
hint: wildcard. (do whatever you like)
second page. i had trouble finding a 'five' so i decided to settle on a 'five' playing card instead.
hint: frame it.
third page. as you can see i still haven't finished it yet. its taking ages. 
hint: draw a never ending line.

finally i thought i'd show you how i bind mine. just with a simple piece of string:
 because it's gonna get verrry bulky.
So that's it! 
*Thank you to Spinebreakers for sending me this to review and be sure to show me pictures of your completed pages if you do decide to get one!


  1. I received my copy today and WOW it is great! It made a nice change from reading a novel and is really fun to take part in. I love what you've done to yours :)

    I'm glad you like yours! I really want a Wreck This Journal now too :)

  2. I'm also quite a perfectionist so I'd really like to see how I cope! And I'm not patient either so I'm double intrigued!

    It looks like a really fun thing to do though and, as Zoe's said, something different! ;D

  3. As a fellow perfectionist, I really want this book! It seems like something completely different and with such a vintage-vibe to it. I want this! Great review by the way, I love how you brought in pictures.

  4. This looks so FUN! I'm not a perfectionist but sometimes I get in my head too much. It would nice to do something out of the norm. Your writing looks like it's made for the book which I'm pretty jealous of (;
    I think I would have an easy job with the stamp portion seeing as my mom does work in a post office <3

  5. I received my copy earlier, and I'm so excited! I adore art journaling, and so this seems right up my street. I love how you've done all your pages, and how the journal just seems to grow as each page is completed. :)

  6. I requested this from Spinebreakers this month!! Can't wait for it to arrive, it looks so fun!! I really want Wreck This Journal too, my friend brought it into school one day, and there was a page saying 'Give this to your friend to do whatever they want' or something...I had so much fun with that page!! :D

  7. Hi, I am writing from a publisher in Taiwan, we are about to publish the Chinese version of "The Pocket Scavenger" in July, and we found your excellent work on the internet. We would like to have your permission to use the pictures from your article to print on a leaflet to promote the Chinese version, this is to show Taiwanese readers a hint of how to use this book to dig out their own creativity. We believe your work is going to inspire lots of people here! If this is fine we will send you a Chinese version of "The Pocket Scavenger" in return.

    Please contact me by email(, many thanks in advance!

  8. Hi Elisa! Thanks for the comment. I have e-mailed you as asked. :D

  9. This is such an amazing review. OMG I want this book so bad! No, I NEED it. You have such photographic skills, I love your pics. Wow, you've what an amazing oppurtunity Hawwa! They want to use your photos? Just shows how talented you are ;)

    1. THANK YOU! You should really get it! But i recommend her first; Wreck This Journal more. :) Thank you...thank you...YES! and i got a chinese version of the book in return!! X________X


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