April 8, 2014

Book Week! and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Welcome to Book Week!

Over the last month or so I have read a handful of books that were each so very good I knew I wanted to tell you about them. I decided to set aside a week to do a review each day and, thanks to the generous folks at Ignatius Press and Magnificat, I also have a free copy of Kendra Tierney's A Little Book about Confession for Children to give away at the end of the week. Be sure to go to Monday's post to register to win!

If you have read any of the books I'm reviewing I'd love to hear your thoughts, too! Leave a comment or link to your own post in the combox.

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
Written and Illustrated by Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke is my absolute favorite illustrator. We own several of the books he has illustrated, including Angel in the Waters - a book every family should own. If we were rich I would commission him to turn a family picture into a Hatke-ized portrait because I *love* the way he sees the world. So you can understand why, when I recently discovered that Hatke not only illustrated others' work but had his own line of graphic novels for kids, well I knew I needed to get my hands on one of his books. 

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl is the third and newest book in a series with the original Zita the Spacegirl published in 2011 and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl released in 2012. It tells the story of how Zita, a girl from Earth who has been saving folks throughout space, now needs some help being saved herself and saving her home planet.

I read The Return of Zita the Spacegirl to my older children. My five and four year olds loved it, and so did I! The illustrations are great, the characters are wonderful, Zita (a girl!) is kind, brave, selfless, and modestly dressed and looks like a little girl! What a gift to have a sci-fi, adventuring role model for my daughter who doesn't look like a sex symbol! My kids and I started at the end of the trilogy but we cannot wait to go back to the beginning.

My favorite part about reading Zita, as a parent and a book lover, was a moment that happened when my kids and I were huddled on my bed, reading a chapter before bedtime. When the chapter ended I closed the book and told the kids it was time for sleep. My kindergartner, with big, excited eyes, asked if I could read just a little bit more into the next chapter. The cliffhanger was killin' her and she just had to find out what happened. It was such a magical moment for me, again as a mom and book lover, that I of course read on!

With the interesting illustrations and the bright colors even my 23 month old likes to look at Zita. In fact, all of my kids like to sit and flip through the graphic novel, looking at the pictures again and again.

Is this book for everyone? Maybe not. It is a sci-fi book but we love sci-fi here and I strongly encourage this book if your family is like mine in that way. I also want to point out that one of the characters is a friendly skeleton, the words "hate" and "stupid" are each used once, and an adult female character wears a midriff and cleavage-showing tank - if you don't have a problem with Ariel and Jasmine you won't have a problem with this. 

I'll say it again, we loved this graphic novel and I am so excited to read the other Zita books. Also! If you also like Hatke's illustrations and fairy tale creatures be sure to keep an eye out for Julia's House for Lost Creatures. I'm super excited for it!

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke is published by First Second and you should buy it. ;)


  1. Oh, thank you for the review! I've always loved sci-fi. I think I will put these books on my Amazon wish list for my grandchildren for Christmas since they just had their birthdays. The girls are 4 and 5 but their brother (the oldest; a couple weeks ago my daughter just had another boy) is about to turn 9. He likes graphic novels and he may just read this, too, even if the main character is a girl. :)

    1. My (much-younger) brother loved reading the Zita books at about age 8.

  2. Putting this on our wish list. Thanks for the review!!

  3. What a fun series! I love hearing what books other families enjoy--my kids go through so many I can't keep up with what is good! We'll be looking in to these. -Gina

  4. I've been a fan of Ben Hatke for forever-he's awesome.