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Zita the Spacegirl Paperback – February 1, 2011
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“For no reason at all, a little red button crashes to earth while Zita and her pal Joseph are out cavorting around. Of course, no one could resist pushing a mystery button, which pops open an interdimensional portal that whisks Joseph away. Zita follows and lands on a delightfully bizarre alien planet, where she sees Joseph being captured by a tentacled, scuba-headed creature. She makes some allies, takes off after him, and zany mishaps and dashing adventures ensue. Any story in which one can escape prison with a tube of "doorpaste" (just like toothpaste, except that it makes magic doors appear when smeared on a wall) obviously puts more stock in wowing imaginations than satisfying logic, and it needs solid cartooning chops to back it up. Fortunately, Hatke's got them, and he doles out an increasingly loony and charming array of aliens, robots, and unclassifiable blobs and hairy things for Zita (herself a cross between Ramona Quimby and a Matt Phelan waif) to encounter. It's fun, plenty funny, and more than a little random. Kids will love it.” ―Booklist
“A headstrong young girl makes a hasty decision and finds herself in a galaxy far, far away in this graphic-novel shining star. Confident Zita finds a strange device in a meteor crater while playing with her more timorous best friend, Joseph. Impetuously, she accidentally activates the device, and before they can say "lift off," the duo ends up on an ill-fated planet, with Joseph about to be sacrificed by an alien doomsday cult and Zita determined to save him. Hatke's skill shines: His characters are richly imagined and portrayed, from the loyal, bumbling Strong-Strong (resembling a cross between a golem and an Uglydoll) to the menacing Screeds, an arachnid-like mechanized device that serves an evil purpose. The giant speechless Mouse, who communicates via ticker tape, is especially ingenious. Hatke takes a page from epic adventures like Jeff Smith's Bone and Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet and throws in a dash of intergalactic zest for a winning combination, sure to captivate young graphic-novel aficionados. Be prepared to blast off; this debut is truly out of this world.” ―Kirkus, Starred Review
“While exploring a meteoroid crater, young explorers Zita and Joseph discover an unusual device featuring a conspicuous red button. Zita's curiosity compels her to press it, only to discover that it summons an alien creature that instantly abducts Joseph. The fearless heroine follows him to a planet inhabited by Scriptorians, who intend to use him as a ritual sacrifice to prevent the destruction of their planet. In her quest to save her friend, Zita assembles a cadre of unusual cohorts: a giant mouse that she rides; an oversize bloblike creature named Strong Strong; a Heavily Armored Mobile Battle Orb known as One; and Robot Randy. Together they head off to the Scriptorians' castle to rescue Joseph. Along the way, she meets Piper, a fellow earthling traveling through space who becomes an important player in the story. Aptly named, he is part Pied Piper and part inventor but always a smooth talker who alternately assists and sabotages the mission. In order to save her friend, Zita must ultimately risk her own chance to return to Earth. With echoes of The Wizard of Oz, this charming, well-told story has a timeless "read to me" quality that makes it perfect for one-on-one sharing. Adults will enjoy the subtle humor and inside jokes, and children will love intrepid Zita and her adventures. The art is simply delightful: a realistic heroine surrounded by a world of bizarre creatures. Fans of the Flight anthologies (Villard) will cheer for the return of Zita.” ―School Library Journal
About the Author
Ben Hatke has published comic stories in the Flight series as well as Flight Explorer. In addition to writing and drawing comics, he also paints in the naturalist tradition and, occasionally, performs one-man fire shows. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and a boisterous pack of daughters. Zita the Spacegirl is his first graphic novel.
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She loves Bens other books, especially Goblin, Julia, and Robot.
Hatke gives us a classic hero’s journey in an imaginative, sci-fi setting. Our protagonist, Zita is a compassionate and feisty girl, who meets a bunch of lovable, flawed new companions and scary aliens on her quest to find her friend who was kidnapped by a deep sea helmet with mechanical tentacles.
My favorite things about Zita:
~It’s about a female hero. She’s so realistically a young girl I was not at all surprised to read the Hatke has three daughters. She’s frightened, idealistic, so sweet, and brave. It’s always nice to have female protagonists, but often girls have girl problems (like boys, social problems, family). Instead we get a classic damsel in distress, with the roles reversed, the boy needs rescuing, and the girl gets to be the Hero.
~She rides a giant, sentient mouse.
~None of the characters were perfect. Our group of heroes were broken and flawed, and it made them relateable and compelling. (A broken robot, a gun happy prototype, a con man, and a little girl walk into a bar...)
~The story is self contained. While there is a sequel to Zita, the first novel is a whole story beginning to end. I remember being particularly frustrated as a child (while stealing my brother’s comics) about cliffhangers and to be continued’s. There’s nothing worse than an unfinished story. (I’m looking at you Peter Jackson.)
~Hatke has a great colorsense. The palette is soft and consistent. I love a man who knows his colors.
~DID I MENTION THE MOUSE THAT SHE RIDES?
~Threat of apocalypse = automatic +5 bonus points!
All around excellent book (especially if you’re looking for something to get your kid’s interested in graphic novels or science fiction!), 183 pages of pure, epic fun! With laser guns! Pew pew!
Zeta the Spacegirl begins when she and her friend Joseph come upon a crater and discover a strange object at the bottom. On closer examination, it's a button that Zeta cannot resist to push. Then, a strange force abducts her friend, Joseph, and he simply vanishes into thin air. Terrified at what she has just witnessed, she flees. Stopping to rest, she notices the button several feet away and makes the decision that she has to find, and hopefully rescue, her friend. Once again she pushes the button and walks straight into the "force field".
Interesting characters and creatures abound in this book. I've had several students read it and then ask when the next book is going to come out. It's also nice to have a graphic novel that is aimed for the elementary middle grades. I also like that the main character in the book is female, a regular-type girl that kids can relate to.
The illustrations are wonderful and creative, the story telling even more so! Great family fun, my 3 year old and my 13 year old love this series. So basically great storytelling and family fun for all ages! Not to mention my husband and I both do not mind reading this over and over and over to my 3 yo...
We meet Zita and in the beginning she's just an ordinary, if somewhat spontaneous, young girl horsing around with a friend...when they find a crashed asteroid that contains a device with a giant red button. Doing what any kid would do, Zita presses the button and her friend is suddenly pulled through the vortex that has opened. After a moment of doubt Zita jumps in to try to rescue him. Zita is instantly pulled into a strange world, where even stranger creatures abound...and where most people would fear to tread. But Zita needs to rescue her friend and she rises to the occasion with the help of some new found friends and donning her space uniform along the way...and maybe saving a planet as well.
While the story isn't really new, the book is still a delightful ride with some great artwork. The storyline itself, and the way that Zita grows during the book reminds me a lot of Hayao Miyazaki's film Spirited Away (which is a good thing.) And just one more selling point, Zita is a heroine and shows that girl's can save the day as well.
Zita is dragged into a new world and a creative adventure. She makes friends with all sorts of creatures that help her on her quest to save her friend and return home.
The character design and the scenes are well constructed and have a great style.
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:-( , not happy! It’s a gift - now what