Monday, April 16, 2012


Created by Abe and Rena Nathanson
Puzzles by Joe Edley
Published at Workman

About the book

Game of the Year winner at the 2009 International Toy Fair, Bananagrams is the international phenomenon that started with a simple idea: "An anagram game that is so fast it will drive you bananas!" Doing for letters what Sudoku did for numbers, it's the obsessive new puzzle craze that starts with 144 letter tiles in a banana-shaped bag and captures all the fun of crosswords and word games like Scrabble and Boggle.
Now comes Bananagrams! The Official Book, which translates the brain-twisting word fun of the game onto the page, and adds much, much more. Even if you've never dipped your hand into the Bananagrams pouch, the book stands on its own with hours of challenging play. Written by the only three-time National Scrabble Champion, Joe Edley, Bananagrams! offers sixteen clever puzzle types, including Banana Trees, where the object is to build word grids based on a theme; Banana Splits, a collection of four quick anagram puzzles to be solved in rapid-fire style; Banana Leaves, with its four-, five-, six- and seven-letter words; Banana Filling—what happens when you add a "K"?; and more. The puzzles have four levels of difficulty, from one banana to four bananas. Plus, there are glossaries; special strategies for Bananagrams: The Game; a list of "Weords"—weird words that are cool to play; two- and three-letter words to take your game to the next level; fun banana facts; and, of course, an answer key.

Who is Abe and Rena Nathanson?

Abe Nathanson and his daughter, Rena, along with his grandchildren Aaron and Ava invented Bananagrams while spending the summer of 2005 together at a beach house in Narragansett, Rhode Island. The whole Nathanson family is involved in the growing game business. Rena and her family reside in the U.K., and Abe lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he runs the company's headquarters.

Who is Joe Edley?

Joe Edley, the only three-time National Scrabble Champion, is the author of The Official Scrabble Puzzle Book, Everything Scrabble, and Scrabble Puzzles Volumes 1–4, as well as Workman's Scrabble Page-A-Day Calendar. Director of Clubs and Tournaments for the National Scrabble Association, he's created thousands of word puzzles for The Scrabble News and writes the syndicated newspaper column "Scrabblegrams." He lives with his family on Long Island, New York.

My Thoughts

We are no strangers to the BANANAGRAMS! game.    However I recently discovered that there were books based on the famous game.  Books to help you kill some time while waiting at the doctor/dentist office or just for fun at home, at the cottage, at camping, or while travelling.

So what is the book BANANAGRAMS! 

I brought this book this morning while waiting for my appointment at the hospital.  I was schedule for a procedure (I won’t give the details here but it was a 2 hour thing) and had to wait a bit in the waiting area.    I had a novel, a book about discovering nature around you and the BANANAGRAMS! tucked into my backpack.    I decided to grab the BANANAGRAMS! and try to do a couple of word games.  

First and foremost, let me specify that English is not my first language.   English is in fact my second language.   So for me finding words in English is a bit more tricky than if I had to do it in French.   I always find that I have more trouble resolving word problems when it is not my first language.    But I persevere and always try to work some games.

Various word games are included in this book;

Go Bananas! – use tiles presented to create a collection of connecting and intersecting common words in a grid.

Banana Boats – Change one letter of a word group and rearrange the letters to create a new word.   You have a starting word and a finishing word and you need to do this three times to arrive to the finishing word.    Also this game include a selection of letter with a word including missing letters and your objective is to complete the word with the offered ones at the top.   

Banana Splits – The first part of this game consist to add one letter to a word already written and create a new word with the suggested letter.   The second part of Banana Splits consist in finding five words with suggested letters and adding the vowels to each suggestions.

Banana Trees – You have to complete grids in order to complete these puzzle.    Some letters included in the grids while others will have some Banana Bite which are a definition of one of the words that you need to find.

Banana Shakes – The first part of this puzzle consist in rearranging some letters to spell out a common word that starts and/or finishes with specific letters combinations.   The other section of this word game is to make pairs of words where only one letter was changed.

Banana Leaves – Using the letters offered you will need to follow specific directions to create words containing  specific letters.  Example:   Make 8 common six-letter words that include the letters A and U (all using the letters offered at the beginning of this word game obviously!).

Banana Filling – Here you will have to either add a letter and form new words with the other letters suggested, create words without using the ones mentioned, and complete a Bananagrams! grid which has missing letters with the letters suggested.

Each puzzle is also rank by difficulty.  The more bananas you see next to it, the more difficult the word game is.  Also the farther you go in the book, the harder the puzzle become.    I would strongly suggest that you do the puzzles with a pencil and have an eraser handy so you can make corrections if needed.   

Here’s some examples of puzzles you can find in the book.


My personal favorites are the Banana Shake, Banana Split and the Banana Filling.   I am having more problems with the Go Bananas!, the Banana Boats, the Banana Trees and the Banana Leaves.   But I am up for the challenge and will definitively try my best to resolve these puzzles (all with the help of my pencil!).   Also included in this fun book are a list of Weords (weird words) as well as the solutions at the end.   

This fun book was definitively a great help for me not to worry to much about the procedure and to stay calm.    It helped me to wait for about one hour before I was called.    It was a life saver for me as it kept my brain active on something else instead of thinking of the procedure I would have to go through.    BNANAGRAMS! is a great little book to put in your purse and carry with you to keep you occupy while waiting.  

BANANAGRAMS! is available for purchase at your favorite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for review purposes from Thomas Allen. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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