Friday, October 20, 2017

PPBF: Moses Goes to the Circus

Third in the Moses series by Isaac Millman
Moses Goes to the Circus

Written and illustrated by Isaac Millman

Frances Foster Books,
Macmillan Publishers, 2003
Ages 4-8, 490L

Circus, Deaf Culture, Sign Language

Moses and his family are going to the circus. On the way, they stop to look at the holiday displays in a department store window. Moses' little sister, Renee, riding on her daddy's shoulders, sways to the music coming over the speakers. Moses can't hear the music. He is deaf. His parents and Renee are not. Moses uses sign language to communicate.

[Moses signs] I am going to the circus.

Moses is a deaf boy. He and his hearing family visit the circus in New York. Throughout the text, the illustrator includes dialogue and translations of the ASL. Moses gets chosen to participate in the ring. He and his family see the animals and performers and enjoy ice cream. Gentle and adorable, this book introduces readers to the circus, the city, and deaf culture in a sensitive and natural way. 

What I Love:
Lovely book about a deaf boy and his hearing family. The included diagrams of ASL were sometimes slightly confusing but necessary and interesting. I love the gentle art, the realistic family, the cute storyline. The book highlights a little-known "Circus of the Senses" which the Big Apple Circus put on especially for children with disabilities. Charming book about a lost part of our culture. Nice to see a positive spin on circuses which generally receive harsh, often undeserved criticism.

1. Other books in the series include Moses Goes to School and Moses Goes to a Concert, and Moses Sees a Play.

2. You'll find some ASL resources for teaching about sign language and deaf culture on HandSpeak.

3. Circopedia is a comprehensive resource and a good place to start learning about the history of the circus.

4. Author / illustrator Isaac Millman lived in occupied France and was later placed in a Jewish-American home, though his family perished in Nazi concentration camps. Learn more about the "Hidden Children" on the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

5. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Vivian

Reviewed by Patricia
Reviewed by Diane

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Patricia

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, October 20, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. Oo, I like that there is a whole series about Moses.

  2. I am not familiar with this book and two others you listed. I can't wait to get to the library.

  3. I am always on the outlook for books dealing with hearing impairments. I like this is a series. I almost ran a review about a deaf child today.

    1. Well, I'll look forward to when you do review it. Thanks!


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!