Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Bug in a Vacuum


Author: Melanie Watt
Genre: Children's Picturebook
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 96
Source: Random House Publishing
Publisher: Random House Publishing
First Published: August 25 2015
First Line: "The bug started here."

Book Description from GoodReadsA bug flies through an open door into a house, through a bathroom, across a kitchen and bedroom and into a living room ... where its entire life changes with the switch of a button. Sucked into the void of a vacuum bag, this one little bug moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair and eventually acceptance -- the five stages of grief -- as it comes to terms with its fate. Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel? Will there be dust bunnies in the void? A funny, suspenseful and poignant look at the travails of a bug trapped in a vacuum.

My Review: With her books and illustrations (specifically her Scaredy Squirrel series) Melanie Watt has proven that she can get to the heart of issues that affect children in an engaging way.  Bug in a Vacuum follows along this path as Watt introduces the five stages of grief to her young readers as they follow a fly who has been unexpectedly sucked up by a vacuum.  These stages were first introduced by psychiatrist Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Watt provides a story line that is simple enough for young children to understand but also gives parents the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject of grief and loss with older children.  Along with a great message, Watt pairs beautiful, detailed artwork with a wonderfully softened effect that also has a great sense of humour and a uniquely retro feel.

Watt engages readers young and old in various ways.  The detailed pictures will engage young children (they can follow the flight of the fly across the pages with their fingers), older children will be able to understand the underlying message because even though the book deals with serious feelings words are used sparingly but to great effect to get the message through.  As an adult, I can attest to loving the secondary and silent story of the dog and how it deals with its own loss as well as the humourous way each stage of grief is introduced to the reader.

Watt is a wonderful writer and illustrator and has created a unique picture book for parents to broach a very serious topic with their children and easily keeps adults engaged as well.  I truly enjoyed this book.

To view the video trailer of this book on YouTube click HERE

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to Random House Publishing for providing me with a complimentary hard cover copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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