Today I’m reviewing Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke.
I first heard about Ben Hatke because I am a fan of Regina Doman, as you all know, and he illustrated her book Angel in the Waters (I feel sure I noticed him first in connection with her, but I don’t think it was through that book; I’m not really sure). I’ve also seen some of his work in Gilbert, the magazine of the American Chesterton Society.
A few weeks ago, I was at the library and they had that newsletter called BookPage out. One of my friends was looking at the last page and showed it to me; it was an interview with him mentioning Zita, and I was delighted to recognize that it was someone whom I had heard of. And so today, I was at the library again, and I saw the same newsletter and decided to look at the interview again. Then I thought, you know what? I bet they have Zita the Spacegirl at the library. So I checked, and they sure did. I brought it home and read it.
Wow. I’ve never read a graphic novel all the way through before, and it was absolutely fantastic. I cannot possibly recommend this book enough. It’s targeted at ages 8-12, apparently, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who can read. There’s some scary bits, but nothing extraordinarily terrifying. It’s a glorious little romp. The plot is this:
Two children, a boy and a girl, find an interesting device which allows their entrance into another planet. There the young girl (whose name is Zita, obviously) must go in search of her friend, Joseph, and save him from his kidnapper. But that’s not all; there’s an asteroid approaching the planet, and it will arrive in three days, destroying it. She meets several highly interesting characters, including a giant mouse and a sentient Heavily Armored Mobile Battle Orb. But don’t you dare call him Hambo. It’s not dignified.
What with an exciting plot, the whimsical creatures, and the likable characters, this book is difficult to put down. It’s funny, thrilling, and wholly charming. High praise, but it deserves it. The ending is an obvious set-up for the next book, which I believe the author is currently finishing.
I can’t wait.
Here’s the book’s trailer:
Zita the Spacegirl: Trailer from Ben Hatke on Vimeo.