Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Bug in a Vacuum
Written and Illustrated by Mélanie Watt
Tundra Books, 2015
Suitable for age: 5-9
Theme/Topic: Grief, Life Changing Events, Emotions

Opening Spread: The bug started here.
It flew into the house …

Brief Synopsis: From Amazon: 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 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.

Resources: The book explains the five stages of grief in one sentence. Each stage is clearly marked in the story with illustrations and bugs emotions. A child and parent can discuss the bug’s emotions and actions at each stage.

Why I Like This Book:  This is a heavy book literally — 96 pages! Grief is a heavy topic and  I felt like the story is very adaptable to different ages. While my son focused on one aspect of life in the vacuum, another child may read something else into the story and illustrations. The book’s topic has the potential to be scary, but didn’t feel that way to our family.

We picked up a copy through our library. The timing was perfect as our community dealt with the issue of the Planned Parenthood shooting (one week ago today). The deaths and the hostage situation were discussed openly in many circles — at our kitchen table, via news channels, and during community events. I guess every local church service in town mentioned the tragedy. If Enzo had questions we answered them. It’s difficult to explain that not all bad guys go to jail or can be stopped.

The book, just like life, has an open-ended ending. It’s a good question to ask whether the bug lives or dies. I still haven’t decided.
For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe week.