I knew it was going to be clever from the first pages...
Bug: 1. An insect 2. An unexpected glitch
Vacuum: 1. A cleaning machine 2. A void left by a loss.
I loved the cover, with its retro feel in colour, tone - and vaccum style. Indeed, every illustration is a painting filled with details for old and young. The can of dandelion repellent in one of the first few pages contains "Poisonous Chemicals to difficult to spell." Each product featured comes with similar warnings and labels. Small items lost under the fridge, tables etc., and found again in the vacuum also encourage playing I Spy.
Young readers will have fun tracing the bug's path as he flies in and through the house. Until the moment he/she meets...the vacuum. Napoleon the dog has lost his little friend to the vacuum as well.
Adults will recognize the five stages of grief as our poor little bug goes through them - Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Despair and Acceptance. ("The five stages of grief, also know as the Kubler-Ross model, introduced in 1969, are a series of emotions commonly experienced when facing a life-changing event.") Words are used sparingly - to great effect. The story could be told simply with the illustrations. Napoleon the dog only has thought bubbles, but he has too is going through the five stages. Or, using the dialogue, much discussion could be had about emotions, talking about how the bug is feeling and acting. Or just read it for fun!
Officially listed as a 5-9 years age range, I beg to differ. This story has appeal for all ages and can be read on so many different levels. It's clever, humourous and beautifully illustrated. Watt is both the writer and illustrator. I absolutely loved it!