Zita the Spacegirl trilogy

My Favorite Thing About Zita the SpaceGirl

Comic Books

My Favorite Thing About Zita the Spacegirl

Zita is back! The final volume of Ben Hatke’s sci-fi graphic novel trilogy is out now: The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. To celebrate, First Second Books asked bloggers and librarians and teachers and authors to write or draw a piece called “My Favorite Thing About Zita the Spacegirl,” and I was happy to join the party.

In case you’re not familiar with the series, Zita is a young girl from Earth who, along with her friend Joseph, gets zapped through an interdimensional portal and finds herself on a strange world filled with aliens, robots, and a giant mouse named Pizzicato. The books are delicious eye candy, and a really fun read. One of the things I loved about them was that the protagonist is a strong female character. Sure, she gets help from a host of characters throughout the book, but she’s certainly no damsel in distress.

Zita the Spacegirl trilogy

My daughters are huge fans: I’ve actually read the books aloud to them, and they’ve read them on their own countless times. We love all the crazy aliens, the colorful characters, Randy the timid robot and One the vengeful battle orb. Throughout the books there are little hints and nods to other sci-fi stories, TV shows, and books, though my kids didn’t necessarily catch all of those.

I Love Zita
“I Love Zita” drawing by my 7-year-old daughter. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Without giving too many spoilers (at least, those that you couldn’t figure out for yourself), Zita becomes a hero in the first book thanks to her spunk and determination, and her desire to do the right thing even when it’s difficult. She’s still young, so she makes some bad decisions at times, but it all works out.

In the second book, she’s actually trying to escape her reputation. She’s tired of being paraded around … but then ends up on the run, suddenly a wanted criminal instead of a hero. To top it all off, there’s a robot trying to steal her identity. And just when you thought everything was going to be okay … her bad choices caught up to her and she was captured by the Doom Squad. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and we’ve been waiting nearly two years for the resolution.

So in book three, we finally find out what happens to Zita, locked up in a cell and forced to work in a mine. A mysterious figure arrives to help her, but things aren’t quite as simple as that. Many of Zita’s friends from the previous books show up in the final volume, as well as a few new ones. It’s a really fun conclusion to the tale, with a good mix of action, drama, and silly humor. Hatke has a gift for drawing crazy critters and giving them funny accents, which is great when you need to populate a world with a lot of different aliens.

My favorite thing about Zita is the way that she brings everyone together. She’s idealistic and never wants to leave anyone behind, and—at least in this story—it pays off. Although that may not always be true in real life, I don’t mind my kids learning that you should always do the right thing, even when it costs you something.

That, and Strong Strong. He’s awesome.

Zita, One, Strong Strong
One, Zita, and Strong Strong. Etch-a-Sketch by Jonathan H. Liu

Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of The Return of Zita the Spacegirl.

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6 thoughts on “My Favorite Thing About Zita the SpaceGirl

  1. Johnathan, are these okay for 5 yr olds? My daughter loves the Tiny Titans comics, so wondering if these would be appropriate too.

    1. Yes! At least, my younger daughter was enjoying these when she was five (she’s seven now). There can be some things that are scary, and there are battles and guns, but it’s usually cartoon violence and sometimes slapstick.

  2. My neighbor’s daughter, age 7 going on 8, just LOVES these three books. I got them from the publisher to review but my 6 year old boy turned his nose up at them… glad they found a home next door and a new fan!

    1. Aw, too bad your son didn’t like them—with all the aliens and creatures it felt like a book that boys AND girls could enjoy, even with a girl protagonist.

  3. We went to a book release party in costume (as Zita and Mouse) and they had a great time. My girls are already devouring the new book and were sad when I wouldn’t let them take it to school.

    I think it’s fine for 4 and up. read it first obviously. I love how the author doesn’t dumb down the story. Yes, Zita is in danger and her choices do have consequences. There are few great girl main characters that are as fun or inspiring as Zita. The sci-fi themes make it extra fun for us adults as well.

    Even better, it’s the series that my daughter loves to give as birthday gifts because she knows her friends will like it.

    (as an added bonus we won an early review copy of the next Ben Hatke book as well. It’s good you should look forward to it, though shorter as it’s a picture book not a graphic novel). .

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