Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke - fun fantasy graphic novel (ages 9 - 12)

I love getting drawn into a fantasy world that is intriguing but not terrifying, exciting but not too dark. Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke, is a wonderful new graphic novel that is going to be a huge hit with our 4th and 5th graders. Students have really enjoyed this book, recommending it for readers who like adventure and fantasy. Zosia said, "It was hard for me to put down because I wanted to find out what happened next. I was so curious about what was going to happen, especially when Zita's friend got sucked into the other world."
Zita the Spacegirl
by Ben Hatke
NY: First Second, 2011
ages 9 - 12
available at your local library or on Amazon
Zita is just your ordinary girl, spending the afternoon with her best friend Joseph, when they stumble across a giant pit left by a meteoroid. They find a device with a bright red button, and Zita knows she just has to push it. "Noooooo!!!" cries Joseph. But, come on - it's a big red button! It might as well have a "drink me" tag attached to it. Suddenly, a hole appears in space, and giant tentacles reach out and grab Joseph! Zita is shocked and distraught that she pushed the button, causing her best friend to be yanked out into who-knows-where. But she leaps to the rescue and follows Joseph into this new world.

Zita finds herself in this strange new planet, filled with neurotic robots, giant clay creatures, and humanoid chickens. Zita must find her way in this new world, figure out where Joseph might be and who might help her rescue him. She launches into a classic quest with determination and courage.

I especially like the tone and themes of this story. Zita's loyalty toward Joseph and her new friends gives her strength and purpose throughout the story. Ben Hatke creates a world filled with strange creatures that are odd, cute and never too frightening. It reminds me of the feeling of the adventure and world-building of The Search for Wondla, by Tony DiTerlizzi, combined with the comic feel of Raina Telgemeier's Smile. Watch this trailer to get a sense of Zita's story and world:

You can also look at a preview of the story here, thanks to FirstSecond books. If you have a child who adores graphic novels, keep your eye out for FirstSecond Books. They consistently produce a wide range of graphic novels that draw children into stories.

I purchased a copy for my home library collection and for our school library. Follow Ben Hatke's blog here - I'm hoping for another installment of Zita's adventures soon! If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.


  1. Agreed: here's hoping for another installment of Zita's adventures soon!

  2. thanks! I think it's a really fun book, and it's had positive reviews by our students.