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Bug in a Vacuum
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Bug in a Vacuum

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,128 ratings  ·  306 reviews
A 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 ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Tundra Books (first published January 1st 2015)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,128 ratings  ·  306 reviews

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❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Melanie Watt has always done a fantastic job combining a great children's story with an underlying life lessons.

In the Scaredy Squirrel series, she introduces the struggle and rewards of going outside your comfort zone. Her other books tackle feelings of frustration while waiting or being different all the while, wrapping it in the veneer of a funny picture book.

This book has fantastic, humorous pictures to go with the story of a fly that inadvertently gets sucked into a vacuum. In
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
A fly gets sucked into a vacuum and goes through the five stages of grief.

Hmmm. I'm torn on this one. It is clever and well-illustrated. The author is detail-oriented (expect to see the items on the floor appear in the vacuum canister), which makes it a bit of a seek and find for children. The action inside the vacuum and the interesting ways the bug decorates and rearranges items (a comb for a prison) is equally attractive. The dog is suffering the same sudden loss as the bug, so there's that c
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stages of grief explained comically using a bug stuck in a vacuum. Genius. Absolute genius. This would make a great read aloud for older kids. Perceptive readers will notice the dog experiencing loss only slightly less dramatically than the bug.
Rachel Watkins
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, picture-book
This bizarre story of a bug who gets sucked into a vacuum goes through the five stages of grief (the Kübler-Ross model). BUG IN A VACUUM is funny, sad, exciting, and unexpected. This is a clever picture book.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fly gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner and goes through the five stages of grief, eventually coming to terms with his new existence inside the machine.
The Library Lady
Feb 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Long ago, I had a toddler who wanted a book on vacuum cleaners, and we had none.
But I wouldn't give him this one.

I am,in fact, trying to puzzle out who the f*ck is going to use this book.

The five stages of grieving, turned into, effectively, a parable about a bug caught in a vacuum?

Maybe you've got a kid who can use this, and it will work for them. Perhaps it will spark a discussion with an adult. Perhaps.

But this is a frickin' picture book by Melanie Watts, fated to be shelved next to her belov
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Happy-go-lucky little fly, enjoying life, flitting hither and yon, not pestering anybody. Then WHOOOOSH!! The poor little bugger is sucked into the dark and dusty nether's of a vacuum. And thus begins his journey through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depressing, acceptance. A journey that is endearingly portrayed through beautiful artwork and simple text that is softened with elements of humor and muted earth tones.

An enjoyable book with purpose. Perfect for sharing with
Barb Middleton
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, humor, grief
Grade 3 students liked this as a read aloud. It has five chapters with one sentence per page. Students didn't understand the stages of grief, but they thought the illustrations were funny and the bug's adventures fun - especially the dog's toy stuck in the vacuum. The dog and the bug are going through grief; however the dog's grief is wordless. A clever multi-layered book with illustrations and font that represent the 60's when the Kubler-Ross model for grief was first introduced.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, bea-2015
I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the book to read it and was surprised it was about the five stages of grief. The artwork was beautiful and soft, there was a lot going on to keep little minds busy and entertained and the plot (and subplot with the dog that paralleled the fly's soliloquy, so smart!) was clear and funny. I'm not sure how much a child will catch, but it's fun enough that they won't be bored and will pick more up each time they read it. A good book to spark conversation be ...more
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. The art work is so expressive and I simply thought this is a great way to help a younger person understand the stages of grief they might be experiencing. The attention to detail is outstanding (down to the worn chord on the vacuum).

I loved it and this is definitely one I need to add to my personal collection.
Megan (ReadingRover)
This is a wonderful picture detailing the five stages of grief. It's a bout a bug who gets sucked up into a vacuum and the way he copes with his situation. Meanwhile outside the vacuum the dog of the house is dealing with similar emotions because his favorite toy has also been sucked up by the vacuum. This is an amazing book teaching children about the feelings that will arise when dealing with grief in a simple and comprehensive way. It also has an ending that isn't totally crushing and is hope ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Another brilliant picture book by Melanie Watt. I love the way she frames a story about a bug in a vacuum cleaner, with the grieving process. And as usual, the illustrations are hilarious [the fly grasping the teeth of a comb like bars on a prison, was particularly clever].

Sidebar: Based on her stories, I would wager that Watt is a shy and anxious introvert. Firstly, all the exquisitely funny visual details don't translate well into boisterous public readings. But they do provide rich rewards fo
Viviane Elbee
The kids' impression of this book is that it is a "sad" book - despite the hopeful ending.
It is a book discussing the 5 stages of grief, which makes this book somewhat better suited for adults and teenagers who are studying psychology rather than elementary students and preschoolers.

The illustrations are very well done.

If you are discussing grief and loss with little ones, you could look at this book to discuss different emotions people may feel. Page-wise, this is a longer book than most pictu
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I love this book! The illustrations are amazing! I loved the detail and the 1960's era feel of them. Simply put, it's about a fly who gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner and what happens next. However, the deeper context is an exploration of the emotions we experience as we go through life-changing events, particularly loss.
Frankie Brown
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a bug (an insect, a virus, an unexpected glitch) who gets sucked into a vacuum (a cleaning machine, an empty space, a void left by a loss).
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adorable illustrations. Loved this picture book that explores the 5 stages of grief through the eyes of a bug who gets sucked up by a vacuum.
Carrie Gelson
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
LOVE the length and format of this picture book. Very, very clever!
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Wonderful picture book about the five stages of grief
Debbie Smith
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book

A dachshund sees a fly enter the house so he picks up his toy dog and proceeds to follow the fly around each room. When the fly finally lights on the globe the dog puts down his toy. The fly and toy then manage to get sucked into the vacuum. Here the fly begins to experience the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, despair, and finally acceptance. Denial: “Doesn’t get much cozier than this . . . Can’t wait to tell my friends about this place!” There is an illustration of the dog on h
Chris Hays
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching, children, olivia
This is such a simple book yet a great way to teach about loss and stages of grief. I think the best part is the story in art which tells the true loss that will speak to most students. There is an interesting aspect to using a fly as a non-cuddly main character to avoid the fresh hurt when using this in direct connection to teaching.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
The stages of grief in a children's book. Simple, relatable, beautiful illustrations, touching. A big concept made approachable and understandable.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an entertaining and informative book about the stages of grief that depict two characters experiencing the emotions in different ways.
Ashley Ruhl
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A delightfully poignant story about working through the stages of grief in a digestible way for young children.
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

When I first read that popular Canadian author/illustrator Watt would be releasing a picture book titled Bug in a Vacuum, I must admit that I was hooked by the title alone. Would it- could it- really be about a bug in a vacuum? What would be the core of the story? To my genuine surprise and delight, Watt has written and illustrated a children's story based upon the five stages of grief.

We're introduced to lively Bug, who, by all appearances, is having a lovely day. Bug has escaped the reach of
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately, dealing with the stages of grief has been a part of our family's recent narrative. After a beloved uncle suffered from a debilitating stroke (including loss of significant brain function), my husband and I have been struggling to process our own grief. However, I soon realized that my children were dealing with grief as well-both in very different ways. So I have been searching for books that deal with grief as an entry point for talking with my children; Melanie Watt's Bug in a V ...more
Jim Erekson
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow! I haven't seen a long form picturebook like this in a long time. Mélanie Watt must have thrown her Chester and Scaredy Squirrel weight around at Penguin to get this deal. This is like 100 pages! The illustrations and the text are clearly competing with each other in telling the story, and this makes for fascinating tensions. My favorite piece was how the side narrative about the dog resolved unexpectedly and led away from the easy ending!

Thanks for the recommendation Andrew Shumate!
Brenda Kahn
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Melanie Watt's work and this bizarre, sly and often hysterical story of a flying insect going through the five stages of grief after being sucked inside a canister vacuum is a hoot. There's also plenty of visual humor and a parallel story of the family dog undergoing similar feelings because his favorite toy got sucked up as well.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love books that are different from all the others and this one definitely fits the bill. Coming in at well over the traditional 32 pages for a picture book, this one takes its time to thoroughly investigate each state of emotions as the bug and dog go through the grieving process. I mostly really enjoyed the illustrations! The dog is so adorable!
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who will or has gone through or is going through a major life change
Recommended to Melle by: K8
I'm with K8 on this -- quite possibly the best picture book of 2015. An examination of the Kübler-Ross model from the perspectives of Napoleon the dog who lost his toy and of the bug who got sucked up into the vacuum with the toy. Brilliant, sweet, and the detailed, witty illustrations are PERFECT. There is nothing about this book I do not love.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is not only adorable with the cutest drawings, but is also super educational and emotionally comforting to readers of any age. I'll likely read it again when I'm feeling upset, because the story is so simple, yet uplifting.
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It was in a design class taught by Michèle Lemieux at the University of Quebec in Montreal that author and illustrator Mélanie Watt created her first picture book, Leon the Chameleon, which was later published by Kids Can Press. Watt went on to create several more books, including the Learning with Animals collection and Augustine, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book. Watt has also illu ...more

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