Graphic Novel Review: ZITA THE SPACEGIRL by Ben Hatke

Zita the SpacegirlZita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by First Second Books

Publisher Description:

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of  an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.

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Graphic Novels have found a way into my pile of books through their simplicity and ease on the eyes. Most people can relate to the young desire for books with pictures. Ben’s art for the Zita the Spacegirl books does a fantastic job of combining action, humor and worldbuilding. The story begins with Zita and a friend discovering a device in a crater that zaps them into another world far away. When they get there, Zita is separated from her friend, meets some new ones and must find a way to escape before that planet is destroyed by a meteor.

The recommended reading age for this book is said to be 8-12 years old, but I enjoyed reading it to my 6 month old. I enjoyed making up accents for the characters–my favorite was the robot drone who has a bit of a temper, whom I had so much fun making sound like a riled up Mexican Conquistador. There is an upset slave owner I made sound like he was from the old South.

zita constabulatory

There were many more, from a couple dufuses in a big cuddly animal that says “Strong Strong” and helps carry Zita to safety and a robot that is a bit of a coward, but had some laugh out loud dialogue. She meets a giant mouse that squeaks but also has a transcriber of his thoughts that prints them out in pictures from a chain around his neck. Some of those made me laugh as well.

Zita the Spacegirl cast

The drawings of characters are clean and imaginative, but my favorite aspect of the art was the pictures of the world. This planet has a rich history, as seen in the underground path she takes and in the castles.

Zita the Spacegirl castle

Zita the Spacegirl climbing

I may not be the ideal age range for this book, but the artistry and dialogue helped keep me entertained. I imagine the 8-12 year old range will love the story and all elements combined. Even my 6 month old was captivated by the pictures and dialogue my wife and I took turns vocalizing. As to the story, I was pleasantly surprised with the twists and enjoyed the climax, though again I’m not the ideal reader age, so it wasn’t too complicated. The art was fantastic, though, and fit this story’s tone perfectly.

reading to kai
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Timothy C. Ward
Executive Producer

ScavengerTimothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His newest story, Scavenger: A Sand Diver Tale, is available on Kindle for $.99. His novel in progress, Order After Dark, is a Post-apocalyptic Fantasy set in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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