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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke
Rose Turner

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia's House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters.

Ben Hatke

1. Do you tend to think of yourself more as a writer or as an artist?

In my case, I think the two are pretty inseparable. I work a lot on the structure of my stories and I get a lot of joy out of that, but my art is not just in the service of the story, it's very much a part of the storytelling. I find things like characters' body language to be a wonderful storytelling tool. I've also lately been interested in projects that separate words and pictures -- illustrated novels on the one hand and wordless comics on the other.

2. The Zita books feature some pretty strange creatures. You must've had a strange childhood!

I've always been drawn to weird creatures. Some of my early drawings are vast underground scenes full of creatures that aren't that far removed from some of the species in the Zita books. I was lucky in that my parents exposed me to a lot of different influences -- all kinds of books and movies. And we spent days spent exploring rivers. We were even active members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms!

3. Out of all that, what kinds of things influenced you the most?

When I was a very small child my older cousin took me to see The Dark Crystal at the theater. We had to leave about halfway through the film because I was crying. The grownups all said it must have been too scary. I've seen The Dark Crystal since, but I also remember very clearly seeing those creatures on the screen for the first time. All these years later I wonder if maybe I wasn't just frightened, but overloaded by the the intense creativity. I still think that they did more with those puppets than we do with CGI today.

4. How does Legends of Zita differ from Zita the Spacegirl?

I feel like this volume lives up to the title a little better in that there are scenes that take place in SPACE. I'm finally putting some "space" in "spacegirl.

5. Can you tell us about one of your favorite scenes or moments in this new story?

There's a chase through the back alleys of a domed space city that culminates with the dramatic entrance of a new character. I'm proud of that part. There's another moment toward the end of the book, a moment of danger for Zita, that I decided to make into a single image spread across two pages with no dialogue. That's the joy of comics: you can show any given moment a hundred different ways but when it works it's a lot of fun.

Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl

Mighty Jack

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

It's the middle-grade team-up of the century as the heroes of New York Times bestselling author Ben Hatke join forces to save the world in Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl....

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Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won't-Walk-the-Dog Cure

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won't-Walk-the-Dog Cure

Missy Piggle-Wiggle

Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell; Illustrated by Ben Hatke
Square Fish
Square Fish

A storm, damage to the upside-down house and children behaving badly... What's Missy Piggle-Wiggle to do? The second book in a middle-grade spin-off series of the wildly popular Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, about a young nanny in a world where magic can solve problems.

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The Worm Whisperer

The Worm Whisperer

Betty Hicks, illustrated by Ben Hatke
Square Fish
Square Fish

You've heard of Horse Whisperers and Dog Whisperers, but Ellis thinks he might be a Worm Whisperer! When his family falls on hard times, Ellis thinks his weird skill might be able to help.

Ellis...

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Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

Mighty Jack

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

Ben Hatke, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Zita the Spacegirl, concludes his latest middle-grade fantasy-adventure series with the energetic finale to his retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk.

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Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure

Missy Piggle-Wiggle

Ann M. Martin, with Annie Parnell; illustrated by Ben Hatke
Square Fish
Square Fish

New York Times-bestselling author Ann M. Martin brings her signature warmth and comic genius to a new character. And artist Ben Hatke brings it all to life!

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle...

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Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

Ben Hatke, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Zita the Spacegirl, returns to middle-grade fantasy-adventure with the first of two graphic novels retelling Jack and the Beanstalk.

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Nobody Likes a Goblin

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

An unlovely little goblin must leave his dungeon and become a hero in this picture book by #1 New York Times-bestselling graphic novelist Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl).

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Little Robot

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

A lonely girl befriends a sweet little robot in this brand new adventure from Zita the Spacegirl author Ben Hatke!

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Julia's House for Lost Creatures

Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

Julia's housemates have to do their chores—even if they're fairies, goblins, mermaids, and dragons!

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Between the Panels 2

Between the Panels 2

Zack Giallongo; Ben Hatke; Thien Pham; J.T. Petty; Hilary Florido; Mark Siegel
First Second
First Second

Have you ever asked yourself what goes on in comics between the panels and behind the scenes? Between the Panels 2 gives you an inside look at the making of four great new graphic novels: Broxo,...

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Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl

Written and illustrated by Ben Hatke
First Second
First Second

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Zita's life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds...

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