About the Holiday
There are some holidays where even I think, “Oh, no – there will never be a Twitter hashtag for this one,” but lo and behold there is! #LumpyRugDay even came—from someone else who thought the holiday random—with a little montage of pics of actor Nathan Fillion, who only seems to get better looking as the years go by. But I digress…. Today we celebrate the rug, that cushy, plush, underfoot décor that keeps our tootsies warm and comfortable. But as they age rugs and carpets can develop lumps and bulges that compromise the safety and appearance of your home or office. Today—in addition to thinking about favorite celebrities—consider replacing any rugs that may be past their prime…time.
Bug in a Vacuum
By Mélanie Watt
A bug enjoying a lazy afternoon takes advantage of an open door and flies into a house. It’s cleaning day and the bug buzzes through the bathroom, through the kitchen (taking a quick hop and skip over the cooling apple pie), across a bedroom, and stops on top of the household globe. Meanwhile someone is vacuuming, unaware of or unconcerned with what lays in the powerful machine’s path.
The bug is “on top of the world when it happened. Its entire life changed with the switch of a button.” Suddenly it is sucked past the little bristles and into the dusty interior of the canister. Finding itself here amid the forgotten debris, the bug goes through many stages as it ponders its plight. Stage one is Denial. Surrounded by fluffy fuzz the bug thinks to itself, “This is amazing! Doesn’t get much cozier than this…” But then the quiet and dark makes the bug suspicious. Maybe it’s a surprise party! Or perhaps it’s a dream! The bug pinches itself to wake up, but all that does is hurt.
Stage 2 follows—Bargaining. The bug calls out “Excuse me, you’ve vacuumed the wrong bug!” It even offers a different day to be so inconvenienced: “Can I be vacuumed next Monday instead? Tonight’s bowling night with the dung beetles!” Finally, it promises to turn over a new wing and writes a contract of sorts: “Dear vacuum, IF you set me free, I promise to avoid my favorite hangouts: windowsills, picnics, porta-potties. A new Bug.” When there’s no response to this plea, the bug moves on to…
Stage 3—Anger. The bug throws a fit: “I WANT OUT NOW!!! NO MORE MR. NICE FLY!!!” It threatens, becomes paranoid, demands attention, and turns the dust bunnies into its own personal army. The sounds from inside the canister are frightening—but no one’s there to hear them.
Stage 4 strikes heavy with—Despair. When the dust, scraps of paper, broken pencil, tack, paperclip, playing card, broken Q-tips, and other waste settles, the bug takes stock. “My life’s a mess,” it realizes. “How will I ever pick up the pieces?” it wonders. It decides: “I’m at the end of my rope. My dreams are crushed. The odds are against me.” The poor bug goes on: “I’ll never see the sky again. I’ll never be extraordinary. I have no future.” At last, though, the bug is ready for…
Stage 5—Acceptance. The bug surrenders itself to its fate and learns to “appreciate what I have.” It goes so far as to say, “I don’t wish to change a thing. Everything will be okay.”
It is at this point that the bug feels itself on the move, gliding across the carpet, waiting at the curb, and traveling away at top speed as the vacuum cleaner sits atop the Bull Dog Waste Service truck. The trip takes it up a hill to the city dump, where the vacuum is unceremoniously dropped on a pile and the hose is dislodged. When the machine comes to a rest, the bug sees the most magnificent sight—a way out. The bug flies into the streaming sunlight and on to another adventure.
A sub-plot involving the family’s wiener dog who has lost his beloved stuffed toy to the overzealous vacuum adds suspense to the story, and his thoughts about retrieving his toy inject more comical elements while mirroring the bug’s contemplations.
Mélanie Watt, with tongue firmly in cheek, takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as an unsuspecting but very lucky bug finds itself engaged in the five stages of grief after it is sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Watt’s text and full-bleed, vintage-style illustrations go hand-in-hand (or wing-in-wing) to tell the bug’s and dog’s stories.
Each stage of the bug’s turmoil is introduced with an image of a product named for the psychological phase and labeled with humorous puns and platitudes. The dated décor, colors, and objects make Bug in a Vacuum visually stunning, and the bug hero is a cutie who readers will empathize with and cheer for. Eagle-eyed readers will also love finding all the items slurped up into the cleaning machine lying on the floor of each page. The first page defining Bug as “an insect” and “an unexpected glitch” and Vacuum as “a cleaning machine” and “a void left by a loss” hints at the fun and thoughtfulness to come.
Bug in a Vacuum would make a great gift and addition to home bookshelves—a welcome pick-me-up for those days when things don’t always go so well.
Ages 4 – 9
Tundra Books, 2015 | ISBN 978-1770496453
You can learn about the many, many books by Mélanie Watt on her website!
To find a fun Bug in a Vacuum activity guide by Tundra Books/Penguin Random House of Canada, click here!
Lumpy Rug Day Activity
Designer Carpet Coloring Page
Many rugs sport fancy, colorful designs to liven up a room. Take your favorite pencils, crayons, or markers and create a run you’d like to have in your room with this printable Designer Carpet Coloring Page!