Zita the Spacegirl TP
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: February 2011
Price: $10.99
Creator: Ben Hatke
Format: 192 pgs.; Full-Color; Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59643-446-2
Age Rating: 8-12
ICv2 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

A mysterious device hidden in an asteroid opens a portal to a strange world and forces young Zita to become the hero she never knew she could be in order to rescue her kidnapped friend Joseph and save a planet from destruction.

Zita’s story is all the readers could want in their science fiction: adventurous, exciting, funny, and moving.  There is a good dash of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Zita’s journey, but her story is all the stronger for it.  Readers from late elementary school and up (because of some light violence and scary scenes) will appreciate Zita’s resourcefulness, while admiring her ability to acknowledge and overcome her fears and also make friends with those whose path she crosses.  Hatke’s art has a child-like innocence about it, but he never forgets that some seriousness is required to make his tale relatable and believable.  The muted color palette helps with both those qualities as does his willingness to allow silence to stretch over multiple panels as needed. Readers who enjoyed Jake Parker’s Missile Mouse (Scholastic GRAPHIX) or Scott Chantler’s Tower of Treasure (Kids Can Press) will also appreciate this sci-fi tale with the soul of a fantasy quest.

--Snow Wildsmith: Writer and former teen librarian and ALA/YALSA committee member.