I bet, if you have kids, they have a summer reading list. And that’s great, and necessary, and should be encouraged. I also know that some of the books on the summer reading list may be met with feelings akin to Han Solo being led to the scan grid in Empire. Parents, I feel your pain. I’ve got a 9 year-old who practically howled when I pulled the reading list out of his folder. To this, I offer comfort: the reading list is often suggested. And there’s always room to punch that list up with books and graphic novels. After reading Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, I suggest adding this one to the list.
Zita and her friend Joseph are two kids who are out playing when they notice a crater, and a device of some sort sitting in the crater. When she pushes the button, Joseph gets pulled into the crater; she eventually follows, and embarks on a rescue adventure. She meets some new friends, and through the value of teamwork and friendship, tracks Joseph down. Does she rescue him? And why was he kidnapped? Hey! No spoilers here, pick up the book and check it out.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Zita is a likable, high-energy character, and the supporting cast that Hatke creates to aid her are hilarious and just as likable. I particularly liked Strong-Strong, a big, lovable creature whom she rescues from a cruel master. One, an irascible but lovable robot, and Mouse (his real name is Pizzicato, but he hates it) round out Zita’s rescue team. They each have their own personalities and have to learn to work around them to get the job done. The art and story are kid-friendly. This would be a fun read for middle-grade ages and up, but could work well with a slightly younger audience and a parent who’s willing to read along.
I know that a girl is the book’s main character, and I know what a hard sell that can be for boys – I’ve been there. But the book is accessible both boys and girls. It’s an adventure in space. There are cool aliens and a mysterious kidnapping plot. There’s action and adventure. Give it a shot.
Zita the Spacegirl
Author and illustrator: Ben Hatke
Publisher: First Second