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Review: Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita the Spacegirl
By Ben Hatke
First Second (Macmillan)
ISBN: 9781596434462
Grades 2-5
In Stores

Good ol’ other dimensions – where would we be without you? The children’s literature landscape wouldn’t be quite as interesting, that’s for sure. What are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz if not inter-dimensional fantasies? The other dimension device allows the protagonist to go…anywhere, really – including other planets. And that’s exactly what occurs in Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl. Well paced and illustrated, with a story that never loses the reader, this is likely to become a well-liked member of your graphic novel collection.

After coming upon a large meteorite impact zone, Zita and her friend Joseph discover a mysterious button that opens a portal to another dimension. Joseph is accidentally sucked in, so Zita bravely decides to follow, only to arrive on an unfamiliar planet and witness Joseph captured by a alien octopus (technically, a Screed) and whisked away. After crossing paths with another human (Piper) who is willing to help, Zita begins a journey to rescue her friend. But there is one problem that might be even tougher to solve -  how to return home.

Although this is the first book for Zita, the character has been around for a bit. First appearing in webcomics and then in the anthology Flight 4.

The illustrations employ a soft-hued palette that keeps the mood on the lighter side. Hatke’s characters have a sketchy quality that reminds me a lot of Matt Phelan’s work.

Entertaining throughout with touches of adventure and humor, young readers will find much to like here.

Review copy from publisher

Watch the Zita the Spacegirl book trailer:

Zita the Spacegirl: Trailer from Ben Hatke on Vimeo.

Also reviewed by Charlotte’s Library, Waking Brain Cells.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Charlotte says:

    I knew the illustrations were reminding me of someone! Thanks for the peace of mind in that regard.

  2. Tanya says:

    Hatke’s work felt familiar to me also, but I didn’t make that connection either! It’s the dots for eyes! Mark Teague does this also. Love it! Love the book, too! Can’t wait for the next one. Thanks!


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  2. [...] worlds but alternate planets as well.” And, last but not least, Travis at 100 Scope Notes weighed in, too: “Well paced and illustrated, with a story that never loses the reader, this is likely to [...]

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