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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Me and my 6 year old spent the whole of last weekend obsessed with this and I can't say who enjoyed it more! Pretty simple - each double page has an item to find ("The number 5", "6 circles", "a paper clip" - some easy, some not), a notes page to write where you found it and when and its story, and a plain page opposite where you can stick it. Then you turn the book over, flip to a page and read an instruction to follow. "Trace shapes over it", "Make it a statement", "Cut it in half", "Turn it into something you love" - most instructions can be interpreted a number of ways so really gets the imagination working. I've had great fun finding and transforming my finds and been blown away by my daughter's creations. Great fun. Would be improved if the book spiral bound with room to expand. It is hard to hold the pages open and now we've done a fair few it won't shut. Guess we'll just cram as much in as possible. Love it. My friend and her kids helped us find some things in the morning and she immediately ordered her own!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For me this book works on two levels. On one hand it's a great book for you and your kids to work with - either together - or it's cheap enough to give them all one copy each and go and scavenge competitively. On the other it's a great book for adults to take out - either on a boring trip - or for the shear fun of micro-exploring your environment.

This book will teach you observation, a skill that is very useful in life; and it will also teach you to look at the objects in a different way. The author suggests that once you have found the object, just the beginning of the process that you then randomly select an alteration process and record it in the book. This is where it moves from mere collecting to interacting with your environment and the found objects creatively. There's a whole art genre to do with found objects and seeing them in a different way as well as creative recycling. This book will help stretch the creative muscles in both directions.

When you have an whole book full of scavenges to do then the author has to be a lot more creative - or they will get repetitive. Fortunately Keri Smith has more than risen to this challenge and provided a very thoughtful selection of objects to find and process. Some of them are obvious and easy - some of them are obscure and tricky to locate, and unlike a puzzle in a book there are many right answers. For all them, make sure you read the instructions in the front of the book. That way you'll get most from it.

If I have a niggle, it's that the book is a paperback, we're told to stick things in the book. That would have worked much better if the book had been wire or ring bound. I know that costs more - but I would suggest to the publishers they might want to think about it.

But in any case, still great fun!
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It took me a while to get this book. I have been staring at it for a few weeks and reading through the various pages with a feeling of confusion. The introduction tires to sell it as some sort of life changing experience in that if we learn to scavenge then that will allow us to enrich our lives and so on.

The book is designed to be fairly robust, and so comes with a water resistant cover and thicker than normal pages. Each page contains a thing to find and allows a log to be kept of the time, date and location. These things can be physical such as an elastic band, virtual such as a rubbing from a gravestone or virtual as in something that is broken. The reader is then encouraged to write a story about it. Following this there are further tasks which can be performed on each thing by turning the book upside down and reading small notes at the bottom of each page such as "Frame it" or "add a colour based upon a memory associated with the item".

I eventually decided that I was thinking too hard about the Zen-like introduction to the book and the life-changing implications for myself and gave it to my niece whilst I was visiting for a long weekend. She immediately sent most of the day out and about collecting some of the things listed which she brought back and proudly displayed to us and we chatted at great length about them.

Which I guess indirectly achieved the aim of the book. Well played...
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on 21 March 2016
It seemed fun for the first few things, then dwindled into futility. Eg: Get something blue, and draw spots on it. Get an old envelope and cut a hole in it. Get something you find down the sofa, and make it look like an animal. The list goes on. After a few things I just found I was asking myself what the point of it all was. I concluded that there is no point, and that was the point. It was an exercise in futility. I think I'm not the intended audience for this book, but I'll hang onto it for my kids because when they're age 5-7 this may be about right for them.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a delightful project style book and something that reminded me of the old "I Spy Books" that used to keep youngsters amused for hours. The look of the book is that of a recycled publication. Nicely printed and a entropy feel to it. Pricewise a good deal.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
I love Keri Smith's work, her art and philosophy on life has inspired my own life and art (basically I'm now a person who can never pass up pieces of cardboard or pretty wrapping paper, and I now truly believe that My Life Is My Art) so when I saw her new book, I had to read it!

It's quite a simple concept - go out into the world and have a look for the items listed in the book. Then, turning the book upside down and flicking through it, you get a prompt to do some DIY work to your found item. You can pretty much do anything you like! That's the fun bit. There's advice on how to find and where to go looking at the start of the book, and ideas for creating your own scavenger hunts at the back of the book. Anyone concerned about the health and safety aspect of finding things on the street can take photos and use them to make alterations to. That's what I do.

This book is so good for encouraging everyone to look, look, and look harder in the world, and I'd fully recommend it to anyone. Your woodland walks will never be the same again!
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on 7 May 2013
I had this on pre-order as I've never been disappointed with any of Keri Smith's books and I'm so glad I did. I'm primarily a photographer but do a lot of other arty things and what I love most about Keri's books is the encouragement to explore and look at things totally differently. Already this book has got me back into the habit of looking at the little details everywhere I go, something I'd gotten out of the habit of a bit recently, and helped me out of a creative slump! If you like collecting things and the idea of using found objects in your artwork I'd recommend it.
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on 17 August 2015
I wish I'd realised it was a long scavanger hunt inside. It wasn't really what I was expecting. Always a fun activity from Keri Smith though, I'm sure I'll make good use of it. As an Art Teacher, she always has some great ideas I can incorporate in my lessons at times.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like quirky books, and I like to be creative, so this book - The Pocket Scavenger - caught my eye with its intriguing publisher's description. If you were to sit down and read every word in this book, it wouldn't take long, but that's not its purpose. After a few short introductory pages, which introduce you to the idea of the scavenger hunt and explain how letting yourself be open to random chance can help you be more creative, you find yourself turning page after page of target objects - 72 in all - and, for every page, you need to find, draw or photograph something of that description. The descriptions are purposefully vague, and include the mundane, the abstract and the odd:

Some examples: Postage stamps; nine circles; a piece of moss; a part of something you ate; a used tea bag; a piece of a puzzle; something orange; a pencil rubbing of a gravestone; a fortune from a fortune cookie; a stain that is green; something left by an animal; a piece of origami; several plastic items of different colours; something curved; something from a construction site.

The next stage is to turn the book upside down, turn randomly to a page, and follow the suggestion printed in a red strip that now runs along the top of each page. The suggestions are even vaguer and more varied than the items on the scavenger list. For example, make it white, do something really fast without thinking; turn into an island; squirt ink; rub surface with dirt; do something strange; add a grid; make it political; lose the item; ask a friend what you should do; it's a hat.

Finally, stick the object onto the respective page and write something about it. It sounds crazy, and - as the book is at pains to point out to you - the results may not always be interesting, but it's up to you and your imagination to make something unique.

Having said that, the suggestions (as you can see from some of those I've listed above) have great potential for making a decomposing and unhygienic mess, and it won't be long before the book is too full to be able to add much more than about 10 to 20 things. Reader caution is advised, and it's perhaps better NOT to add your name, address and map of your local area as is advised in case you lose it, lest someone actually find it and you find yourself having an awkward conversation trying to explain yourself to the neighbourhood busybody. I'm joking of course - it's just a bit of fun, and no-one has to actually take it seriously enough to do some of the more crazy things suggested (don't worry, Auntie Maude, your jigsaw puzzle and your pet rabbit's droppings are safe, and I won't be making a rubbing of Uncle Terry's gravestone and turning it into a hat).

I've had some fun pointing out some of the crazier things you can do with this book, but I've already started doing some of the tasks. I've made an elastic band political (don't ask me how), I've turned a sweet wrapper into a monster, I've made a post-it note into five signposts; I've chopped up a cable tie (yes, that wasn't a very good one), and now after I post this review I'm going to print it out and... I'm looking the next stage up right now... "draw in the same direction as the wind"... er... okay, I can't connect that up at all so I'll try again... "make it REALLY funny".


Everyone's a critic.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great little book to either give to children or adults. It encourages you to find a huge variety of items, stick them into the book and then customize them with a randomly selected instruction. Each double page spread has room for the item plus an area to write about the story of the item (where you found it, etc). It's a great way to encourage children's creativity and keep them occupied, and for adults it's a nice change from the norm and a way to embrace fun, simple challenges and develop artistic skills. The required objects range from easy to find, to very tricky, so you can get stuck right in, but it will also be a long-term project. The book also has suggestions as to how to turn it into a game or competition with friends which is a nice touch.

My only complaint is that this is a standard paperback - I assume this is to make it easy to carry around. However it would be much better if it was spiral bound, as it's difficult to fit all the items in and the book quickly becomes unwieldy and difficult to close. A redesign would mean I could happily give this five stars.
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