Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bug in a Vacuum

This is a wonderful picture book that not only has an amusing story about an insect (and a dog's toy) sucked up into a vacuum cleaner, but also a primer on the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief, as the bug (and the dog) go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in turn.

This book could be used with many ages to explain the stages of grief and help one going through death or another loss, disappointment, or traumatic event.  The very first page (even before the title page) sets the stage:

Bug (buhg)
  • An insect
  • An unexpected glitch

Vacuum (vak-yoom)
  • A cleaning machine
  • A void left by a loss

Each stage of grief is presented as a household item.  Denial is a can of repellent spray that “wipes out the ugly truth.” Bargaining is a box of detergent to “wash away your troubles.” Anger is a frozen dinner that is “quick and messy.” Despair is a book with "an unfair tale with an unhappy ending." Acceptance is a box of "gentle and comforting" facial tissues.  Then the reader sees the bug's reactions to each stage inside the vacuum cleaner, and the dog's reaction just outside it.

Mélanie Watt uses mixed media to create a winsome bug (and dog) against a background of old-style furnishings and equipment (like the vacuum cleaner). Children will enjoy spotting items, on the floor in the earlier pages, inside the vacuum cleaner (and used in delightful ways by the bug) as the story progresses.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[Bug in a Vacuum is available on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library in the Curriculum Collection, call number EDUC PZ7 .W33225 BU 2015.]

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