Posted May 14, 2013 by Amy in Books

The Pocket Scavenger (Book/App) Review


“…what if we look at every “thing” as if we had never seen it before?”

In a world where it’s all about “rush, rush, rush” from one activity to the next, faces buried in hones, author Keri Smith brings a concept designed to make you stop and look around you, and maybe even see the potential beauty in the most ordinary of objects. The Pocket Scavenger is a book and app that turns you into a scavenger, an artist, and so much more. In this review, we’ll examine both the book and the app by the same name, either of which can be used alone or in tandem for scavenging adventures.

The Pocket Scavenger book is less of a book and more of a journal, scrapbook, and collection all in one tidy package. The cover is pressure treated and water resistant, and it is absolutely meant to be taken along for your travels and adventures, or even just carried day to day in case an opportunity presents itself. The beginning of the book contains a few pages of slight direction, but the author suggests you let the experience lead you, and allow your creativity to spring forth.

Each two page spread in the book contains everything you need for one successful scavenge. On the right hand side, the book lists one item for you to find. These range from things like a part of something you ate to a used envelope to a piece of string. Beneath the item to search for is an area for you to fill in the location, date, and time you found it, as well as the story behind it. ON the left hand page, you are to affix the found item in whatever way you like. Then the fun part comes in – the alterations.

In the interest of spontaneity and fun, altering the object is a random thing. You are instructed to flip the book upside, open the book at random, and then perform the alteration that is listed on the item you have collected. Alterations are anything from “paint it red” to “turn it into a sign” to “add some movement”, and the instructions can be interpreted however you want, giving you the opportunity to be as creative as you like. You can even do several alterations on the same project, for a finished project that is completely you.

There are seventy-two suggested items to scavenge and alter in The Pocket Scavenger, but if that isn’t enough for you, the book ends by giving you loads of suggestions for continuing and altering the fun.  Scavenge the alphabet, scavenge for sounds, meet a friend and scavenge together – there are so many possibilities, and this is a book that suggests you take this idea and run with it, making it truly yours.


Whether you’re just more the type to do things digitally, or you already have the book and want to try scavenging a different way, The Pocket Scavenger app offers just as much fun as the book. The app follows the same basic structure as the book, giving you a list of items to scavenge when you’re out and about. The main difference is that here you use your smartphone camera as the collector. Find a listed item, snap a picture, and you’re off. After each picture is input, you can then select “give me an alteration” to get a random task to perform.

When the alteration pops up, you can choose to accept it, or get a different one. Then, just like the book, you can perform the alteration in any way you like, and them submit a picture of your work. There is a lot of potential for looking at things in a different way – you could alter the item in real life and then snap a pic, or alter the picture itself in some way. You can even make several different alterations on duplicates of your original item, giving you a veritable album of possibilities. If you like, you can even participate in a community of scavengers, via twitter.

The Pocket Scavenger is a great tool for bringing out the creativity in all of us. Whether you’re already constantly on the lookout for found items to beautify, or you want to find a way to let your latent creativity out, it’s a great tool to help you look at the world in a whole new way. The Pocket Scavenger book is the perfect tool for tactile scavengers to step into a new adventure, while The Pocket Scavenger app is great for scavengers on the go – your list is always with you, and so is your collection. Whichever you choose, you’ll soon find yourself seeing things in a completely new way.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)