Moses Goes to the Circus

Moses Goes to the Circus

by Isaac Millman

Experience the Big Apple’s Circus of the Senses

Moses and his family are going to the circus. Not just any circus but the Big Apple’s Circus of the Senses! In a single ring, there are acts by trapeze artists, acrobats, elephants, horses, and clowns – all specially designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and the blind. Moses’s


Experience the Big Apple’s Circus of the Senses

Moses and his family are going to the circus. Not just any circus but the Big Apple’s Circus of the Senses! In a single ring, there are acts by trapeze artists, acrobats, elephants, horses, and clowns – all specially designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and the blind. Moses’s little sister, Renee, isn’t deaf but is learning sign language, and Moses loves teaching her the signs for their day at the circus.

Isaac Millman takes readers on a wonderful outing in pictures and written English and in American Sign Language (ASL). Detailed diagrams of the signs are included so that readers can learn along with Renee.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richly detailed double-page spreads and the simple, descriptive text make room for boxed sequences showing Moses demonstrating [sign language] to learn...A colorful depiction of a loving family and its entertaining day at the circus that has much to offer in elementary-school applications." — Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Isaac Millman once again shows the star of Moses Goes to School and Moses Goes to a Concert enjoying a universal experience of childhood in Moses Goes to the Circus. He visits the Big Apple Circus's "Circus of the Senses" with his parents and younger sister, Renee, who's learning to speak and sign to Moses simultaneously. Millman shows insets of Moses signing simple sentences labeled with arrows and symbols, so readers can learn along with Renee.
Children's Literature
Moses and his family are going to the circus. Today the Big Apple Circus is putting on a special show called Circus of the Senses. During the show, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the sounds and spoken words into sign language. This is very special for Moses because he is deaf and it will mean that he will be able to appreciate the circus more than if the interpreters were not there. For Moses this is a wonderful adventure which he enjoys sharing with his mother, father and little sister. Written with great sensitivity and understanding, the author clearly cares very deeply about his characters and subject matter. Underlying the main story of the visit to the circus is another minor story. This one is about Moses' little sister Renee. Renee can hear normally and is so little that she hasn't yet learned to speak, but she is already signing. As we read about the visit to the circus, Renee learns and remembers the correct sign for the word, elephant. She, in fact, can sign many words. Throughout the book there are little boxes on the pages which show Moses signing some of the words mentioned in the text. Seeing these pictures emphasizes how truly wonderful sign language is for the deaf. This book would be very useful to help children understand the world of the deaf. It would also help them learn a few words in American Sign Language (ASL), giving them a greater appreciation for how hard it must be to learn ASL. 2003, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 5 to 8.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Moses, who is deaf, attends the Big Apple Circus's Circus of the Senses for vision- and hearing-impaired children with his family. Although the story is slight, the experience is rich: readers uninitiated to the deaf community are offered plenty of new concepts to process, including public entertainment adapted for the deaf, along with illustrated instructions for communicating in American Sign Language. Moses Goes to a Concert (1998) and Moses Goes to School (2000, both Farrar) involve deaf-school field trips. The family setting in Circus gives the affable child, already a joy to identify with, another facet in common with the book's hearing audience and allows for the introduction of Moses's baby sister, who is not deaf but who is signing before she can speak. Cheerful watercolor illustrations, almost exclusively on spreads, reflect the largeness of a circus and accommodate, without burdening the layout, the many boxes in which Moses models ASL. Millman successfully projects deafness as an aspect of a healthy, positive individual.-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Moses and his family are having a great time at the circus; but since Moses is deaf, the whole family signs. Even little sister Renee, who cannot talk yet, amuses this loving family by calling every animal "cat." This third in the series (Moses Goes to a Concert, 1998; Moses Goes to School, 2000) can be read consecutively to watch Moses's sister grow up. While Renee is getting taller and more able to sign, the hearing reader passively learns that a child who has no verbal language can be developing language skills before she is able to speak, and more important, a family with a child who is deaf can be normal. Set up by the earlier stories, the hearing readers learn by observing the main character, Moses, who can communicate with friends, schoolmates, and family with the ease born of an excellent American Sign Language education. Though Millman does not mean to be political, and it's fabulous that a juvenile picture book can represent deaf culture, it will be a great day when the bibliotherapeutic aspects in books can be dispensed with in favor of the plot. Millman gently educates the public regarding factual information about sign language or deaf culture before the story begins, but the information shared in the text tends to detract and slow its pace. Insets show Moses signing a whole sentence, but on every page, readers can enjoy the watercolor illustrations edged in black even more, because the text corresponds to hand movements, making it possible to read hands while depicting a sweet boy who loves and is loved by his family-politics aside. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Moses Goes to Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
8.86(w) x 11.12(h) x 0.41(d)
490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Isaac Millman is the author and illustrator of two other books about Moses, Moses Goes to a Concert, which Booklist called “[a] breakthrough picture book,” and Moses Goes to School. He lives in New York City.

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