A popular children's counting rhyme for choosing who's going to be it. It can also be used as a jump rope rhyme, although it’s a bit short for that. It’s not used as often as eenie meenie miny mo is, but it is still in common use in America -- although perhaps less so than it was twenty years ago. It is often given the longer name of Acka Backa Boo. Acka Backa can also be written Ackabacka or Acka-backa.

There are many variations of the rhyme. The basic acka backa verse is often used on its own, especially with younger children. It’s long enough to be an effective choosing rhyme on its own:

Acka backa soda cracker
Acka backa boo.
Acka backa soda cracker
Out goes you!

I've also heard it as Acka backa yummy cracker when it's sung in preschool -- apparently soda crackers aren't as popular as they were when I was a kid. I do not endorse this change. But there's more to the rhyme than just those four lines. Here's the longer version:

My mother, your mother lives across the way,
Eighteen, nineteen East Broadway.
Every night, they have a fight
And this is what they say:
Acka backa soda cracker
Acka backa boo.
If your father chews tobacco,
Out goes you!

The address on East Broadway changes from version to version (514, 16-17, etc.); often it's sung in the past tense (every night, they had a fight); and modern versions are much less likely to have a reference to tobacco, replacing that line with another Acka backa soda cracker. Sometimes other verses are stolen from other rhymes and inserted. If it's used as a jump rope rhyme, the ever popular yes, no, maybe so can be added onto the end to extend it indefinitely.

And finally, here's a version found in the Bahamas -- it's quite different from the ones I've found from other countries, but clearly related.

Alla balla
Chicken calala
Alla balla boo.
If your mama chews tobacco,
Why don't you?

Now you know acka backa. Don't let this knowledge die with you. Go and teach your children.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.