Thursday, October 28, 2010

Acker Backa Boo: Games to say and play from around the world



Title: Acker Backa Boo
Author: Opal Dunn
Illustrations: Susan Winter
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books

When we began sorting through our books for CROCUS 2010, I picked up this book atleast 10 times and then discarded it before finally settling on it. It wasn't a story book, you see. But I eventually came back to Acker Backa Boo. It's a book on games for children. We've all grown up playing street games and over the years they've all morphed into one amorphous group that you cannot place geographically. For instance growing up in Uttar Pradesh we often played a game called Akkad bakkad bambe bo. I was surprised to find that Acker Backer Soda Cracker is played in Canada, UK and USA. Which came first? It doesn't matter. What does matter is that the games we think were ours have been played out across the world, for years.

The illustrations by Susan Winter are beautifully done. The book is divided into sections like Easy Peasy, Whose Turn?, Hands and Feet mover, Hide and Seek, Catch you, Singing, Ball games and more. Each set takes up a specific issuee, teaching children rhyme, rhythm, teaching them to count, make decisions, learn to play fair and take turns, improve their motor skills, feel the excitement and danger of being almost caught, escaping, catching a ball, and even the art of skipping.

Each game comes with a tidbit of info. For instance, did you know that the game Wolf, Wolf, where are you, came from France? Have you heard of Olika Bolika that is played in Belgium and Germany? What about Tickum Tackum from Iran? There are games from Egypt, Peru, Thailand, Zaire, Chile, Cambodia, Tanzania and much more.

The Brat, Bean and I, have been at the book for some months now and not yet learned all the games. There always seems to be something new and fun to pick up from it, to say nothing of the fact that they learn where it comes from. A section at the back of the book gives you the music for the singing games (if you can read music, that is!).

If you can get your hands on this book, I'd recommend it for the sheer fun of learning new games, jumping around manically and generally having a lot of fun.

10 comments:

Kodi's Mom said...

great review, MM, am so tempted to buy it right away! I think it is fantastic to revisit such enriching games that involve the whole self, they'll give nintendo good competition :)

Meera Sriram said...

Very glad that you decided to let this book be a part of crocus TMM!
Played a lot of goli and pambaram (top), growing up on a busy street and I keep mentioning them to kids often. R can say "aaku paaku vethala paaku", a tamil finger play game in entirety:)Loved the uniqueness of the subject! Very refreshing!!!

sandhya said...

I want, I want, I want this one right away! Love the names of the games. Made me feel like the child who played 'lagori' on the streets with her friends.

Thanks, TMM.

artnavy said...

The book sounds like a must have... very unique.

Vibha said...

Ditto as Sandhya and Art. So want to read this one.
A great pick!!

the mad momma said...

thanks guys.. I am so happy you all guided my choices. I was so confused with the absolute bounty of books I had on our topics...

Choxbox said...

Cool!

utbtkids said...

MM, such a gem. I just ordered it from Amazon. This is something I would like to own this.

Arundhati said...

I'm just catching up with the CROCUS posts and this is one of my favourites :) Great find

ranjani.sathish said...

What a very different and unique pick MM !! It is so interesting...I think it will be liked by everyone at home :-)

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