By Mark Shulman
Adam McCauley, illustrator
Top 10 of 2013
Inside Jacket: Robert (OR BERT) is in a world-gone crazy: WORDS have become a SWORD, PRESENTS are being served to SERPENTS, and even his sisters, ANN and NAN, are all mixed up. What in the world is going on here? Can ROBERT (OR BERT) solve his word dilemma—or is he fated to a live a scrambled life?
Opening: My name is ROBERT OR BERT. Please, don’t call me Bob. That’s a whole other story. Word problems run in my family. Yesterday, Grandma Reagan told me about anagrams.
About the Story: Grandma tells Bert about anagrams. Anagrams are words or phrases with the same letters. She said,
Anagrams are easy to SPOT
But hard to STOP.
Grandma has sent Bert to the post office to get his aunt, but Bert does not have an aunt; well that is what he said. Bert’s new mission is to RESCUE and SECURE his grandma. He ran to get his parents and realized his sisters ANN and NAN are anagrams! In the middle of Bert’s anguish is his stomach. He was afraid hunger COULD CLOUD his mind, so he had to find a place but all Bert could find was a DINER IN RED. The food was not very good—to Bert. The other patron’s EATS would SATE their hunger. Bert realized he could not bring Grandma an aunt, so he decided to bring he an anagram instead, but what could he bring?
What I Thought: I love words, word games, and wordplay books as well. ANN and NAN Are Anagrams is one of the coolest books on words. Not only will kids learn what anagrams are—and in a funny cannot-forget way—they get a story, too! Inside the story of Bert trying to fetch an aunt for Grandma, that does not exist, are more than 101 anagrams. By the story’s end, it is nearly impossible not to understand, and start seeing, anagrams everywhere you turn, just as Bert did.
The humor is awesome, the story is strange but makes sense for the theme, and the illustrations add an interesting, bright comic book look from yesteryear. ANN and NAN Are Anagrams is a wonderful book for boys and girls, including boy and girl teachers. Elementary schools should keep copies of this is their library and make sure every language arts teachers has access to several. Make education fun, read ANN and NAN Are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Dilemma.
There is one problem. Robert said,
My name is ROBERT OR BERT.
Please, do not call me Bob.
Why should he not be called Bob? Is this a loose string? Those who have read Mr. Shulman’s previous wordplay picture book understand why Bob, uh Robert made that comment. The answer is actually not far from the end of the story. Robert is willing to go by the names ROBERT (OR BERT), but not Bob because Bob, like Mom and Dad, is a palindrome not an anagram, hence the comment or “inside joke,” if you will. Still do not get it? I had to read the author’s blurb to understand ROBERT’s remark .
Mr. Shulman and Mr. McCauley collaborated on another wordy book titled Mom and Dad Are Palindromes.
What does that have to do with ROBERT (OR BERT)? Nothing, actually, but BOB was involved, along with his MOM and DAD! Rather than confuse any children or teachers, who might think there is a loose thread, I strongly suggest schools keep both books in stock.
I love ANN and NAN Are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Dilemma. Mr. Shulman’s crazy anagrams can be found everywhere, including the pantry and on the wall. The book is an absolute must for home schools. Used as a read-aloud in a classroom, children will understand anagrams by the end of the book, if not before, much to a teacher’s delight.
For a kids view,, read Erik’s review at This Kid Reviews Books
Released October 1, 2013
Age 5 and up
© 2013 by Chronicle Books, used with permission
Text copyright© 2013 by Mark Shulman
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Adam McCauley
- Ann and Nan Are Anagrams by Mark Shulman AND Chippy Chipmunk Winner! (thiskidreviewsbooks.com)