Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke (First Second, September 4, 2012, ages 8 and up) is the sequel to the utterly charming Zita the Spacegirl (my review), which won the Cybils Award for younger Graphic Novel last year.
If you want your boys to read books about girls, girls who are brave, and determined, and basically people with feelings (as opposed to aliens with cooties), you can't really go wrong with the growing number of great graphic novels out there with that type of girl front and center. And at the top of the list (along with Giants Beware!) is Zita the Spacegirl. The charm with which she is drawn, the science fictional adventures in which she is a reluctant but capable participant, and the engaging supporting cast of aliens, makes this a winner for readers of any gender.
In this second story, Zita finds that she has become a hero. Pestered by fans, she is at first relieved when a robot, determined to impersonate her, shows up. But the robot is too eager to take Zita's places, and blasts off on an interstellar rescue mission--leaving Zita and her friend, Mouse, marooned.
Help comes along in the form of an intergalactic circus, and soon Zita and Mouse are on their way to face an alien danger of epic proportions. But the path that they've taken has brought them afoul of the law, and the police are chasing them across the galaxy...defeating the alien danger requires a terrible sacrifice...and what Zita really wants is to go home to her family again.
And then there's a cliffhanger. Argh! The alien danger part is resolved, but that's it. So me and my boys will have to wait eagerly for Zita Three to come out. Sigh.
But in any event, Hatke's wild and wacky illustrations--detailed yet not overwhelming--make me smile while reading, I love Zita, both as a drawing and a person, and I can't wait to see what happens next! (And this is partly because Piper, who those of you who read book 1 will remember, now has some backstory. With romance. I do like romantic backstory...Also there is now a cat. I like cats. I like Mouse too, but cats more.).
A generous preview is available here at the publishers.
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher, and read instantly.