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Legends of Zita the Spacegirl Paperback – September 4, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Hatke has again conjured up a rich and satisfying story with enchanting characters and delightful humor. Lumponians are seeking Zita's help to save their planet from the dangerous invasion of star hearts that will strip a planet to its bedrock. Convinced that she is their only hope, they offer as payment the remaining jump crystal that will allow her to return home. They happen upon a robot masquerading as Zita and employ this counterfeit hero to save them. While Zita does save the Lumponians and her rivalry with robot Zita is nicely resolved, the story is obviously a setup for further adventures as she must rescue her companion mouse. Hatke's humor is in top form, including the creation of dialects with unique spellings and language that perfectly capture the each character's personality. Even robots have a language. Wordplay is omnipresent, such as names based on musical terms, and the star-hearts invasion being described as a "heart attack." Inventive sound effects such as "scootch" and "snuffle" and the gift of a "slap in a box" are among the many bon mots youngsters will savor. The characters' expressive faces are given a charm and attention to detail that will captivate readers of all ages, and the beautifully illuminated images of space inspire awe. Legends offers a parody of celebrity status and gently explores the question of notoriety versus heroism. Fans of Zita's adventures will relish this installment.-Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“Zita's moxie is positively contagious, and her adventures are un-put-downable. Readers would be hard-pressed to not find something to like in these tales; they're a winning formula of eye-catching aesthetics and plot and creativity, adeptly executed.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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The first book, Zita the Spacegirl is a delightful 10. Book #2, Legends of Zita, goes all the way up to 11. Zita is now the hero of the universe after saving the Scriptorian’s planet. But having planets full of fans is an exhausting responsibility for a young Earth girl so she jumps at the chance to flee the spotlight when a robotic Zita look-a-like appears. Unfortunately this leads to Zita and Mouse getting separated from their friends, who are drawn to Lumponia so that (robot) Zita can save the Lumponians from killer star hearts.
Often times, plots that pull the protagonist away from a beloved cast of characters sucks the wind out of the story. But here it creates the opportunity for Zita to expand her galactic family with additional compelling characters like Dobblelganger, Madrigal, Glissando, etc. In lesser hands this might make the story too busy but Hatke deftly keeps each character engaging and cleverly uses visual and dialogue to both propel the story forwards while giving just enough glimpses into each character’s back-story.
Legends of Zita has more humor but also more melancholy. Says Madrigal, “I think you’re like the rest of us. Just trying to hold things together while you find your way.” This sums up the position many of the characters find themselves in. Legends of Zita ends with Zita heading off on her own to find Mouse who had an unfortunate run-in with the Doom Squad. And also possibly to find a way home to earth. While I root for her potential rescue of Mouse, I can only hope that our spacegirl is flatly unsuccessful in finding her way home. Certainly my whole family cheers for her to stay in space as long as possible.