Book Reviews

Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound Book Review + Spotlight

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Have you heard of the children’s book Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound?

This is a brand new release from Author Shelby Wild, illustrated by Yana Popova, and we have been having the best time with this book! With it’s beautiful illustrations, to its mix of realism and fantasy, your kids will find something to fall in love with.

Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound is a STEM-inspired picture book about a very happy, adventurous young girl, whom my daughter related to immediately! The copy of the book we received from the author came with coloring pages and stickers, which were hidden throughout the book for us to find as we read the story. It begins with the map of all her adventures, which we loved to see, and we were eager to read on…

Her journey begins in a cave with a dragon, where the Rock Hound must use her wits and cleverness to bypass the dragon and gather the large crystal by rigging up a pulley with a counterweight, which my son and daughter both thought was really cool!

She then dives under the water, finding herself surrounded by mermaids and coral in a beautiful ocean scene, as she searches for her favorite crystal, fluorite, and manages to collect it while keeping the peace with the mermaids…

This adventurous little girl then finds herself in a spaceship, flying far away into outer space! She is searching for Alexandrite, (probably one of my favorite crystals) and finds herself next to Saturn’s rings, trying to collect the precious gem.

Each time the Rock Hound makes an awesome find, she must use tools and her smarts to figure out how to take the crystals from their resting places. She shares with readers what it takes to be passionate about something and to not give up on your goals. Overall, this book has been a joy to read, and has inspired us to learn more about crystals, and creating our own!

Related Post: Our adventures in Making Crystals!

Buy This Book Today!

Additional Learning Resources:

Coloring + Activity Pages

Find more on her website for parents and teachers.


Related Post: Tips for Rock Hunting with Young Kids by Shelby Wilde

Let me introduce you to the Author of Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound…


Author Spotlight: Shelby Wilde


I recently sat down with Author Shelby Wilde, to talk about life, and what inspires her with her writing!

Shelby Wilde was born in Southern California, U.S.A. and now lives in Seattle, WA, USA. She fell in love with creative writing in elementary school with a “show, don’t tell” writing assignment. ‘I still remember the prompt was to describe how messy your room is. I absolutely loved finding ways to show the room was messy, instead of listing all the reasons why.’ Shelby went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in English and after years in business communications, she finally gets to write for kids!

Shelby says, ‘My passion is for writing children’s picture books. I love the unique storytelling opportunities you get when marrying text with pictures.” Shelby shares with us about her latest book, Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound’s main character who tells us fantastic stories about how she added rocks to her collection. The stories are mostly fantasy, but the rocks she hunts are real.

Shelby says that Scout’s story was inspired by her 5-year-old daughter, ‘who loves rocks and hunts for them everywhere she goes.’ One day, her daughter sat her down and told her ‘some amazing stories about how she found each of the rocks in her collection. The stories involved dragons, mermaids, and even aliens.’

Shelby shares with us more about her writing process:

Once she is touched by an idea for a story, Shelby writes it down. ‘Sometimes it’s just a phrase, sometimes it’s just a paragraph. From there, I’ll slowly build out the story. When it feels right, I’ll sit down and start to flesh out the story.” She does not edit at all, and everything that comes into her head goes onto the page. ‘It’s much better to edit after all of your thoughts are down because if you try to edit as you go, it’s a never-ending process.’

Once the initial draft is done, she does something that is key to success, she ‘puts it away for a month or two. Just like my tip above to not edit as you write your first draft, putting away your first draft is also crucial. After you go through the process of honing your first draft, you are now too close to the story to be objective about it. You have to put it away (I call it “letting it marinade”) and come back to it later.’

Shelby’s advice to the young writer:

“The best thing to do is to write a little every day. Write about anything you want. In 4th grade, my teacher had us keep a journal and would give us writing prompts. I still have that journal.”

Shelby tells us what she loves most about being an Author:

“What I love most is being able to create entire worlds with virtually no rules to follow. There’s nothing better than hearing a child say, “Again!” after you finish reading a book to them or with them. That is why I write stories for children. Reading aloud to a child or teaching them to read for themselves, is one of the best ways you can spend your time.”


Find more from Shelby Wilde on her Website, Facebook Page for Scavenger Scout, Facebook Page for Shelby Wild Books, Instagram, and Twitter.

Purchase Your Own Copy of Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound on Amazon Today!


Let me introduce you to the Illustrator of Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound…


Illustrator Spotlight: Yana Popova

I recently sat down with Yana Popova to talk about her life, and what inspires her with her artwork!

Yana Popova was born in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria and now lives and works in London, United Kingdom. In her early years, she graduated in the art class of her High School, and continued studying in New Bulgarian University, Sofia, but says that she thinks of herself as ‘a self-taught artist’.

“I basically grew up holding a pencil. I have always loved watching animations and turning the pages of all my illustrated books staring at them for hours. I think this really inspired the art side of me and I always knew that one day that’s what I want to do.”

Yana mainly illustrates children’s books and says that ‘they are so fun to illustrate because you can use almost anything that comes to mind to make the illustrations stand out.’ The latest title she has illustrated has been Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound by Shelby Wilde, which we absolutely love reading!

Yana shares that she will always find her inspiration while researching for the book. ‘For this one, I needed to do research of a completely unknown area for me and it was both inspiring and educational at the same time.’ She went to the National History Museum in London to do her first ever research on crystals and rocks, so she could create those for the book. She says, ‘It was so interesting!’ And we can see all her effort for research truly paid off, as these illustrations have been very enjoyable to look at while reading this book, all of our children request this one at bedtime!

Yana shares details with us about her Creative Process

Yana says that ‘her process is pretty straight-forward.’ She begins with ‘quick and rough sketches’ so she is able to get the basic idea for the design and find the right shapes for the characters. Yana asks herself many questions, such as: what will the characters look like, what is the environment around them and what is the best way to show all this information? She then creates everything, piece by piece and then combines the sketches she is happy with. After that, she refines them and ‘creates a storyboard panel of the whole book’ and sends it to her client for feedback.

From there she starts working on the colors, shading and fine details. She recalls that with coloring, as an artist, she must take into consideration a lot of things, ‘such as the overall mood, the light, and how the characters react to this, etc.’ After the base colors and details are added, she again sends everything for a review and if there is no need for adjustments, she will ‘export the final file in Photoshop as a print-ready version, and we are done!’

“The advise I could give is to practice every day, not to be afraid to experiment with different mediums and techniques, and to never stop learning new things.”


Find more from Yana here:


Instagram: @yappyarts

Facebook: @yappyarts

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Till Next time,

Breathe deeply and enjoy building your masterpiece with scissors and glue and rock hounds too!




If you enjoyed this post, check out one of these:

Making Crystals – Scavenger Scount Rock Hound Science Experiment

Autumn is for Apple Pie Book Review

Candy Cane Crystal Ornaments


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2 thoughts on “Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound Book Review + Spotlight”

  1. Thank you, Alexandra! I’m so glad your kids enjoyed the book. The best part about writing is seeing your book in the hands of young readers and finding out what part of the book they most connect with. I can’t wait to read about your crystal-making adventures!

    1. Hello Shelby, you are so welcome! Thank you so much, it’s been really great seeing my kids get so inspired ❤️

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