October 29, 2015
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Bug in a Vacuum
by Melanie Watt
Bug, a house fly by trade, is enjoying a leisurely fly through the house when he finds himself pulled deep into someplace he doesn’t want to be. I’m not sure he knows what it is but the reader will know by the pictures that Bug has been sucked into a vacuum cleaner. That’s the story told in the text.
Through the illustrations, readers see a second story. The same day that Bug is sucked into the vacuum, so is the pup’s favorite toy — a cloth dachshund that looks much like the dog in question. The rest of the story takes place both inside and outside the canister vacuum as Bug and pup learn to cope with their loss.
Because that’s what this picture book is really about although the only place it says so is the brief author’s note at the end. There Watt briefly explains the 5 stages of grief — denial, bargaining, despair, anger, and acceptance. Face it, at 96 pages, this book had to be about more than a house fly stuck in a vacuum.
That’s right. 96 pages. Most picture books are 32 pages. Some are 48. Don’t let the fact that this one is super-sized freak you out. It is well worth the time it will take to flip through the pages taking in Watt’s amazingly detailed illustrations. Watt’s illustrations and her reputation are what first drew me to the book — the fact that it is by Watt.
Although we always laughed at Scaredy Squirrel, Chester was always a household favorite. If you don’t know Chester check out this cat who does his best to take over the book that tells his story.
Whether or not your child is experiencing a loss, this book is worth checking out. As you read each section, discuss with your young reader times that she or he has felt this way. You may be surprised by some of the answers.
And do read through to the end. This is more than a story about grief. It is also a story about a bug who gets caught in a vacuum and a dog that loses his favorite toy. In the end, they both have something new, something neither of them thought to desire.