Zita the Space Girl: delightful kids' science fiction comic that's part Vaughn Bode, part Mos Eisley Cantina

Zita the Space Girl is Ben Hatke's 2011 kids' science fiction graphic novel about a young girl's adventures on a distant world that she is transported to after clicking a mysterious button that she finds in the center of a meteor crater. It's a pure delight. Zita's friend Joseph is sucked through the portal first, and she bravely pursues him, and finds herself on a world that's half Vaughn Bode, half Mos Eisley Cantina, populated by the motleyest assortment of robots, aliens, and beasts you could ever hope to meet. She quickly collects some powerful enemies -- primarily a tentacle-beast assassin in the employ of the Scriptorians, the planet's indigenous death-cultists, who engineered the kidnap of Joseph so that they could sacrifice him, fulfill an ancient prophecy and divert the doomsday asteroid that's set to destroy their world in a matter of days.

But Zita also finds allies: the immensely strong, none-too-bright steveadore Strong Strong; a rascally rogue of a showman called Piper (he can lull his enemies to sleep with his high-tech tin whistle); a vengeance-minded flying battledroid called One; a giant mouse with a printer around its neck called Pizzicato, and a shaky, neurotic robot called Randy. Together, they must penetrate the badlands, fight off the minions of the Scriptorians, and rescue Joseph, and either avert or escape the asteroid that is hurtling toward them.

Creator Ben Hatke's story fires on all cylinders -- Zita's adventures are funny, exciting, well-paced, and suspenseful. The art is fabulous, expressive and imaginative, and the characters are delightful. The book is recommended for grades 2-5, but I found it to be a great read-aloud for my four year old (I had to translate a lot of the dialogue on the fly, but that's half the fun, and the visuals are so great that they fill in any blanks arising from missed verbal cues).

Our read of Zita was triggered by an early look at the sequel, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, a great followup that comes out in September, and would be a great way to continue a summer reading adventure.

Zita the Space Girl


  1. I <3 these books.  The Mos Eisley comparison is apt; the background action in these books is just as interesting as the narrative in the foreground.

  2. Ordered! I think my daughters (10 and 11) will really enjoy a book like this. I would love more recommendations for kids in that age group. When they pick out books for themselves, they always pick novels (although they do like Diary of a Wimpy Kid). 

  3. My 5 year old daughter absolutely loves Zita and has been impatiently waiting for the sequel (she asks “can’t you just email him and tell him I want to read more?”)

    @chesterfield – for something of a similar age group try the Amulet comics, another favorite of my daughter.

    1. I ordered “Rapunzel’s Revenge” and “The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook” based on a recommendation in the comments of the Zita book. 

  4. My 7-year-old is completely in love with Zita the Spacegirl – we’re counting down the days to September at our house. I like that the series features a girl as the main character without (Brave, I’m looking at you) making a big deal out of “Hey! Look, it’s a GIRL doing this!” My daughter adores the team of sidekicks, who add a lot of the comic relief and increase the cuteness quotient.

    For those looking for more graphic novels with strong girl characters:
    Rapunzel’s Revenge
    The Elsewhere Chronicles

    …have all been popular at our house.

  5. FWIW, http://zitaspacegirl.com/

    The site includes some sample “webcomics”. Worth a look, though it hasn’t been much updated in years (yes, I originally found it more than 2 years ago…)

  6. I sort of went cross-eyed at linking Bode and a kid’s comic until I saw it.  Looks like a very good thing to give to young girls (and boy kids too)

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