Bug in a Vacuum written and illustrated by Melanie Watt (2015)
When the bug get vacuumed up with the dog’s toy, he goes through five stages of grief. Each stage is it’s own ‘chapter’. The first is denial. At first, the bug thinks the inside of the vacuum is amazing. The second stage is bargaining. He tries to convince whoever vacuumed him up, that he is the wrong bug. He tries to accuse a collection of bug-looking junk of being the wanted bug and he ends up writing the vacuum a letter promising to leave if he is released. Stage three is anger. The bug yells and shouts and attacks the vacuum from the inside. The fourth stage is despair. The bug falls into gloom and depression. The final stage is acceptance. He surrenders to his fate. He tries to appreciate the life he has inside the vacuum. In the meantime, the vacuum is being dragged to the curb. The dog who lost his favorite toy inside the vacuum chases the garbage truck down the street until he sees another dog. The two dogs become friends and the fly and dog’s toy are deposited at the dump where the vacuum pops open on impact and the fly and dog’s toy escape. From there the fly starts his journey all over again while the dog’s toy becomes material for a bird’s nest.
This is definitely a picture book for older readers. It is written and drawn with comic book/graphic characteristics and the dry humor that an older child would appreciate. It is almost 100 pages long, which is much longer than your standard 32 page picture book. I think Kindergarteners will begin to understand the humor and will enjoy the language of the trapped fly. It will also make them feel like a ‘big kid’ to have such a lengthy picture book to read.