The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Ben Hatke. First Second. 2014.
Ben Hatke pulls out all the stops in his final installment of the Zita the Spacegirl series, to be released May 14, 2014 by First Second. I’m sad to see this series go, because the last one was the best yet. The illustrations and how they were delineated frame by frame were excellent and added a great sense of dynamism and pacing to the story. Zita remains indefatigable and courageous to the end. She’s a great character, who’s instantly relatable. All of her sidekicks, from the flying robot One to the space pirate Piper, add something to the narrative. She even has time to make a couple of new friends before her adventures end, and they’re just as necessary to the narrative.
These are great books for reluctant readers who might be wary of longer titles. The illustrations are a great gateway into building reading confidence. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this series, which is inspiring without being over the top or forced. Zita has to make it through one final confrontation in order to save her friends and Earth itself. This is a must for any children’s graphic novel collection. For ages 8 to 12.