Bug in a Vacuum

M%C3%A9lanie Watt. Tundra, $21.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-77049-645-3
In this half-comic, half-tragic tale, Watt (the Scaredy Squirrel series) portrays a bug that gets sucked into a canister vacuum and travels through Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief. Watt's muted spreads feature midcentury modern interiors and ersatz advertising, with no humans in sight. The bug (it appears to be a fruit fly) becomes trapped inside the prison of the vacuum along with the family dog's stuffed toy, a mute but comforting companion. In a long, pun-laden monologue, readers watch the fly express denial ("This is amazing!"), bargaining, anger ("No more Mr. Nice Fly!"), despair ("I'll be a prisoner forever"), and, finally, acceptance ("I don't wish to change a thing," it says, looking resigned). Outside the canister, the dog mirrors the same emotions with regard to its lost toy. The story may require some context-setting from adults ("What does bargaining mean?"), while the bug's fate—it survives, but in a strange new place—doesn't offer the consolation it might. But young readers, who are so often subjected to events they can't control, will easily sympathize with the fly. Ages 5–9. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/13/2015
Release date: 08/25/2015
Genre: Children's
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