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BUG IN A VACUUM by Mélanie Watt


by Mélanie Watt ; illustrated by Mélanie Watt

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2015
Publisher: Tundra

A bug flies indoors, is sucked into a vacuum, and experiences the five stages of grief while entrapped.

The narrative plays it straight, but the double-page spreads—over 40 of them—tell a far livelier story. When the fly’s first imprisoned amid thick dust and sucked-up detritus, it denies and deflects: “Doesn’t get much cozier than this… / Can’t wait to tell my friends about this place!” Watt, formerly in advertising, packages each successively introduced stage as a product. “Bargaining” is a box of laundry detergent, while “Anger” is a retro-looking TV dinner. She includes a clever, visually parallel story about the household’s dachshund, whose favorite toy, a knitted, button-eyed dog, suffers the same fate as the bug. As the highly dramatic insect emotes through the five stages, using the bits and pieces it’s been sucked up with as imaginative props, the dog experiences them silently. In the “Anger” section, as the fly creates a ruckus inside, the dog attacks the vacuum, seeking his toy’s liberation. The “Acceptance” phase coincides with the discarding of the now-busted machine at the dump. There, the toy is regurgitated, and the fly emerges through the proverbial tunnel of light. A final spread shows the dog cavorting with a new canine acquaintance, while above, its former toy warms a bird’s nest of eggs.

Another funny, visually rollicking work from the creator of Chester (2007) and Scaredy Squirrel (2006). (Picture book. 4-8)