Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

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

Shulman, Mark (Author)
McCauley, Adam (Illustrator)
Chronicle Books 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781452109145 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

figurative language, recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Robert (or bert) is all mixed up. His Grandma Regan “is in anagram danger.” She has commanded him to “take the TOPS off the POTS and hurry to the POST office” and bring back his “AUNT. She’s A NUT.” But he has no Aunt of this description and Robert is sent into a tailspin of words that keep getting scrambled. Even his sisters, ANN and NAN, are anagrams: “Word problems run in my family.” This zany tale has a little boy unscrambling a world gone wrong to “RESUCE and SECURE” his granny. Rather than a crazy AUNT, he brings her a TUNA instead. A fitting resolution in a story packed with “different words that have exactly the same letters.”

Expressive mixed-media illustrations in bright yellows and reds take inspiration from an eclectic mix of pop art, cartoons and 18th century cautionary tales. Robert is seen standing in the centre of the page, yellow and orange stripes shooting out toward the reader as though he is being sucked into a vortex, with the multi-coloured topography in giant letters: “SISTER, RESIST!”

Distinctive fonts are used to highlight the anagram pairs in each phrase. Masterful wordplay is at the forefront of the storytelling, with plot dragged wildly along for the ride: “I SHOT MY COOL and ran TO MY SCHOOL. The SCHOOLMASTER was in the CLASSROOM teaching VOWELS to WOLVES.”

With this much fun to be had in word puzzles, readers will no doubt want to try some of their own.

  •  

    Define and discuss the term anagram.

  •  As you read, look for anagrams in the illustrations. Tally them to find out if there really are “More than 101 anagrams hidden inside” as the cover boasts.
  •  

    Take turns reading parts of the story aloud. Can your audience determine the anagrams without seeing the text?

  •  Use a teacher-selected online resource to make your own anagrams. Incorporate as many as you can into a story.
  •  

    Define and discuss the term anagram. Does it exist in French or in other languages you know?

  •  

    As the book is read aloud, look for anagrams in the text and in the illustrations. Tally them to find out if there really are “More than 101 anagrams hidden inside” as the cover boasts.

  •  

    Try to make an English anagram with your name or with a sentence of your choice. Share with your peers.

  •  

    Use a teacher-selected online resource to discover other anagrams. With a partner, create a story (or a scary oat tree) to incorporate as many as you can.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information