Title: Danger on the Flying Trapeze
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer Books
Major Themes: D. L. Moody, Circus, Historical Fiction
Synopsis: Casey is traveling with the circus when he meets Dwight L. Moody; is the man’s advice to him really good?
Several months ago, my daughter borrowed a number of the Trailblazer books from a friend, and I have been reading them aloud to my sons. They are really enjoying these books! One of our recent ones was Danger on the Flying Trapeze. I’m not sure I’ve read many other books about Dwight L. Moody—I can think of one biography, but that’s all.
Casey, his mother, and his sister were living with his uncle’s family in Philadelphia after his father’s death—and he hated life there. Not only was the city dreary, his uncle was disapproving and demanding. School was hard. One day when he was playing hooky, however, he stumbled upon the winter quarters of a circus. There were horses there—and elephants! Casey was overjoyed to find a job, not only for himself, but for his mother. Suddenly, the little family found themselves traveling with the circus—and Casey was learning how to do trapeze acts.
The circus worked their way to Chicago, where the World’s Fair was going on. Casey was intrigued by a man who showed up and asked to rent the tent on Sunday mornings. What was this all about? Why did D. L. Moody want to preach to so many people? Then, he tried his new act on the trapeze for the first time—and failed. When he ran away, he found himself in one of Moody’s meetings. Could the man help him? Would Casey ever shake off his feelings of failure and become useful for Moody’s work?
This is an interesting glimpse into life in a circus, as well as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. I was glad that circus life was not glamorized; the harder side of being circus performers was shown. Moody’s message to Casey was one that we all need to hear. Danger on the Flying Trapeze is a good story that will catch children’s interest, give them a glimpse into history, and inspire them.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12