These young adult science fiction books, forty-five in the series, were mostly written by Katherine Applegate, who writes as KA Applegate. The “mostly” refers to the fact that many of the books after number twenty-six were plotted and detailed by Applegate, but actually written by different ghostwriters. This is attributed to the fact that Applegate’s son was born prematurely and she is reported to have written in the hospital where he spent the first several months of his life. Credit is given to Applegate for naming and thanking each ghostwriter in the front of each book. Happily, her son is now flourishing and she has gone on to write many more books for children and has received several writing awards.
The Animorphs — meaning animal morphers – is a series of books published from 1996 to 2001 about 5 teenagers who join forces with a friendly alien to save the world from invasion by bad aliens – and along the way acquire the ability to change into any animal that they have contact with. The books are told in first person from the point of view of one of the 6 main characters: Jake, Cassie, Marco, Tobias, Rachel and the friendly alien Ax. The books are written for 12-16 year old year old readers and realistically depict the effects and conflicts of war and the difficulty of having to make tough decisions for the good of the entire world. Even adult readers will enjoy these books.
The series was made into a 26 episode TV show in 1998, but it was not as popular as the books and was heavily criticized for the low budget special effects that made the show more laughable than serious.
Readers of this age group will come to love the friendly alien, Ax (short for Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthil) and his wide eye-stalk amazement at all earthly delights. His desire to taste as many things as possible – not always what humans consider food –includes anything salty and greasy, chocolate and cigarette butts. The books written from his point of view are quite comical and provide a unique view of humans from a non-human perspective that all readers will be able to appreciate.