If you find a device with a red button in a meteoroid crater, don’t push the button… unless you want to be whisked off your feet into another world.
After Zita pushes the aforementioned button to annoy her timid friend Joseph, Joseph is kidnapped and taken to another planet by an evil bounty hunter. Remorseful Zita instantly pushes the button again to follow and rescue her friend. Where she lands turns out to be a planet of robots and aliens, but there’s no time for sightseeing, for Zita must locate and save Joseph before an asteroid hits in three days. Soon, through her kind behavior, Zita has rounded up a ragtag band of trusty, but not necessarily reliable, friends. The newfound help includes a crafty human named Piper, a giant Mouse who communicates with a printing device on his collar, a blustering and belligerent battle orb named One, the rusty robot Randy, and a soft-hearted alien named Strong-Strong.
Author and illustrator Ben Hatke vivifies the world and characters of Zita the Spacegirl with colorful, cartoonlike pictures that make the story fun. In addition, he smoothly transitions from panel to panel, making this children’s graphic novel easy to follow and enjoy.
Though the book is primarily an entertaining adventure story, the bravery and kindness which Zita exhibits fill the story with wholesomeness. Much like in fairy tales where a compassionate and sweet-natured girl, such as Cinderella, wins friendship from animals and humans by her kindness, charity, and courage, so Zita wins unexpected friends through her own caring acts.
Zita the Spacegirl: Far from Home is a story that will delight young audiences and refresh older ones. At times the story and characters are predictable, but Ben Hatke has a few surprises up his sleeve as the plot unfolds, and he introduces enough twists to make the protagonists creative and likeable. Zita the Spacegirl: Far from Home is the first installment in the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, and I’m curious to see where Hatke goes with the sequels.