This is a fun, amazing, and complex story! Two stories co-exist in the adorable and creative illustrations — the story of a fly who is sucked into a vacuum cleaner is the main story and is narrated in the text; and the story of a dog whose favorite toy also fell victim to the vacuum. The dog’s story can only be read in the pictures.
Both the fly and the dog go through the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, despair, and acceptance. So on a basic level, for younger children, the book is a humorous look at the fate of the fly and his creative uses for the other items that exist in the vacuum. For older children, or when read with an adult, the book can spark a more serious discussion on loss and grief. The ending is not all wine and roses for the dog and his favorite toy, but as we must often do, he moves on in his life.
There are more pages in Bug in a Vacuum than in a typical picture book, so that might initially concern young readers. The text on each page is minimal though, so the actual time to read the story is not great. Melanie Watt also authors the Scaredy Squirrel stories, so she has a built-in audience that will be eager to read about Bug.