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Some friends of ours bought my children a copy each of Keri Smith’s ‘Wreck This Journal’ about two years ago, and the children absolutely loved it.  Amazon Vine, the review programme for Amazon, recently offered me the chance to review her latest book; ‘The Pocket Scavenger’ and I jumped at the chance.


Keri Smith is an artist who encourages you, the reader, to make your own art with the use of her books as a prompt.  ‘Wreck This Journal’ asked you to do exactly that with the book. Each page of the book asked you to do something different with the page, pour coffee on it, rip it up, scrumple it, scribble on it, stick things to it etc, to show you how you can be creative in lots of different ways, and how you could create your own art through her book.

The Pocket Scavenger invites you to explore the world you take for granted as you walk about in your daily life. Each page asks you to find something and stick it into the journal or use it in some way.  Some stamps for example, or a pencil rubbing from a grave stone.

You record the date and where you found the item, follow the instructions and record, if you want, your feelings about what you have found or made.

I love this kind of thing.  I like the idea of having instructions about how to be anarchic! I always want to be anarchic, but I’m never quite sure where to start. I think I mustn’t be the only person who feels like this. Certainly in a classroom environment I’ve seen children asked to do something creative, stuck when their imagination fails to kick in. Something like Smith’s book takes that uncertainty away, by providing specific instructions, but which then allow you freedom within what you’ve found.

These books make great gifts for children of all ages (and their mother’s), and are wonderful things to use as resources for a teacher in a classroom environment, or a parent who has exhausted their creative juices in the regular ways during school holidays but who wants to challenge their children to something a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to arts and crafts.