#418 – ANN and NAN are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Dilemma By Mark Shulman

ann and nan are anagramsAnn and Nan Are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Word Dilemma

By Mark Shulman

Adam McCauley, illustratorlogo_123377_web (5)

Chronicle Books

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.

A Junior Library Guild Selection for 2013

For a kids view,, read Erik’s review at This Kid Reviews Books


Ann and Nan Are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Word Dilemma

By Mark Shulman    goodreads    pen parents

Adam McCauley, illustrator    website    blog

Chronicle Books    website    blog    facebook    twitter

Released October 1, 2013

ISBN:   978-1-4521-0914-5

36 pages

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


10 thoughts on “#418 – ANN and NAN are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Dilemma By Mark Shulman

  1. This is a great book, happy to discover your web blog. I confess to being somewhat more into it then my children, however there is time yet to offer them on re-arranged word fun!


  2. Pingback: News – Best Books of 2013 Winners | Kid Lit Reviews

    • I love anagrams to. I think it is amazing not that he came up with over 101 anagrams, but that he came up with a coherent story about anagrams using the anagrams, plus much of the art uses anagrams. 🙂


    • The book deserves high praise. If you check out Erik’s blog (link is above), you’ll see he holds it pretty high himself. It is a great book. In my humble opinion. Would I annoy anyone if I were to ever say “in my humble fact.” 🙂


        • Erik has become a Master of Anagrams. I am surprised he has not commented here. Could be because he is busy answering all his comments (50 total, thus far). The kids kills me! He has renamed this site from JLR to KDE: Kiwi Dirt Elves. Erik’s anagram of Kid Lit Reviews. We won’t go to what he anagrammed me.

          But I am glad you shared. This is a great book for teachers to use to explain anagrams. The author also has a book on palindromes. I thought they were drones (misspelled) aimed at S. Palin, but I was wrong. That is a good companion book to this one and I bet another will be around soon, on what I have no idea. These guys are too good at this not to write another.


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