We’ve been reading K. A. Applegate’s first Animorphs book, Animorphs: The Invasion (Wikipedia entry) with some of our students recently. The book has been extremely popular and, when Bryan F had the chance to pick another new book from our book box, he chose the second book in the series.
The Invasion is an engaging kids-secretly-save-the-world young adult novel. The Earth is being invaded by a race of slug-like extraterrestrials that literally crawl into people’s ears and control their minds. These aliens, known as Yeerks, ultimately plan to convert the entire population of our planet into hosts and, then, soldiers to be used in their conquests of other worlds. Luckily for humanity, a member of a benevolent shape-shifting species that’s fighting the Yeerks is injured in battle and, near death, lands his spaceship in a construction site in a small suburban American town just as a group of junior high schoolers are passing through.
When the youths meet the dying alien (before the bad guys show up and literally eat him), he clues them into the Yeerk menace and endows each of them the power to morph into the form of any living creature whose morph (it’s a noun as well as a verb in these books) they’ve acquired. That’s done by placing their hand on the animal, bird, reptile, insect, or other target organism and concentrating a bit. Afterwards, with a bit of concentration, they can transform into and back out of that creature’s form at will.
Animorphs is a long-running series (fifty-four books published between 1996 and 2001) and so popular that Scholastic is currently reprinting the first six books with lenticular 3-D images on the covers.
In the image at the top of this post, the cover of the book that Bryan is holding in his left hand features the character named Jake and his lizard morph. The character with a cat morph pictured on the other book’s cover is Rachel.