Ben Hatke's first graphic novel was Zita the Spacegirl. He has published comics stories in the Flight series as well as Flight Explorer. In addition to writing and drawing comics, he also paints in the naturalist tradition and, occasionally, performs one-man fire shows.
Hatke lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters.
Gr 3-6-Hatke has again conjured up a rich and satisfying story with enchanting characters and delightful humor. Lumponians are seeking Zita's help to save their planet from the dangerous invasion of star hearts that will strip a planet to its bedrock. Convinced that she is their only hope, they offer as payment the remaining jump crystal that will allow her to return home. They happen upon a robot masquerading as Zita and employ this counterfeit hero to save them. While Zita does save the Lumponians and her rivalry with robot Zita is nicely resolved, the story is obviously a setup for further adventures as she must rescue her companion mouse. Hatke's humor is in top form, including the creation of dialects with unique spellings and language that perfectly capture the each character's personality. Even robots have a language. Wordplay is omnipresent, such as names based on musical terms, and the star-hearts invasion being described as a "heart attack." Inventive sound effects such as "scootch" and "snuffle" and the gift of a "slap in a box" are among the many bon mots youngsters will savor. The characters' expressive faces are given a charm and attention to detail that will captivate readers of all ages, and the beautifully illuminated images of space inspire awe. Legends offers a parody of celebrity status and gently explores the question of notoriety versus heroism. Fans of Zita's adventures will relish this installment.-Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Zita's moxie is positively contagious, and her adventures are un-put-downable. Readers would be hard-pressed to not find something to like in these tales; they're a winning formula of eye-catching aesthetics and plot and creativity, adeptly executed." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review