Megamorphs #1: The Andalite's Gift, published in May 1997 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the first book in the Megamorphs series, a set of companion books to the Animorphs series. With respect to continuity, it takes place between Book #7, The Stranger and Book #8, The Alien. The Megamorphs books are narrated by all six members of the Animorphs, in turns, but there is no specific order, unlike the order of narration in the regular series.
|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
We never should have done it. But we needed a break. You know, some time off from the superhero stuff. A chance to act like normal kids. Well — as normal as four kids who can morph, a hawk, and an alien can be. Everything should have been cool.
Now Rachel is missing. And there's this... this thing that's after us. But it's not up to me to tell the whole story. Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and Ax were there, too. Even Rachel has some info to add. So go ahead and check this out. And remember not to tell anyone what we're about to tell you. It could mean the difference between life and death. Or worse...
The Animorphs plan to have a lazy summer, with several Animorphs attending a pool party and Rachel going to a gymnastics camp. However, before she can leave for the camp, Rachel - in her eagle morph - is attacked by blue jays, who cause her to crash and lose consciousness. When she wakes up, she's human again, but now has amnesia.
Meanwhile, Jake and Cassie are attending the pool party. Because Marco was not invited, he decides to sneak in, and he takes Ax along. The two of them morph into mice and crash the party. After they are done terrorizing the guests, they run into the basement to demorph. However, when they demorph, they are attacked by a massive flying tornado monster. It destroys the house before abruptly dissolving into dust and leaving. The Animorphs regroup and discover that Rachel never made it to the gymnastics camp. Jake, Marco, and Tobias head into the forest to look for her. As Jake and Marco morph to wolves, the creature begins to chase after them, and they realize that its drawn by the energy generated through morphing. Moments before they are about to collapse from exhaustion, it flies away.
Rachel gets captured by a crazy old lady, who was a Controller, by locking her in a wooden shack and setting fire on it. Rachel inadvertently morphs into a grizzly bear to escape, and is then attacked by the creature. The two begin to fight, until Ax encounters them mid-combat. He begins to morph and the creature captures him and returns to the Blade ship, delivering Ax to Visser Three, where Visser Three explains that the creature is called Veleek (which means "pet" in the Yeerk language) and that it came from Saturn. Rachel demorphs and makes her way into town, where she hides out in an empty house. When police surround the house and tell her to comes out, she morphs into an elephant and breaks through the side of the house.
Meanwhile, Jake, Marco, and Cassie notice the Veleek floating through the air as dust, and they steal Cassie's father's truck in order to chase after it. They attempt to play a game of "keepaway", by continually morphing to distract the Veleek, but their plan does not succeed. The truck crashes into Rachel's elephant form, restoring her memory but drawing the Veleek to all four Animorphs. The Veleek attempts to capture Rachel, but cannot lift her. Jake and Marco continue on in the truck, but they crash it again, and Marco is captured by the Veleek.
Marco and Ax, now prisoners of Visser Three, are on board the Blade ship. Ax morphs into a flea and hides on the Visser's body. He slightly demorphs and remorphs to attract the Veleek's attention. The Veleek begins to attack Visser Three, causing Visser Three to order the water turned on. In the confusion, Ax and Marco escape from the Blade ship and are plummeting back to Earth, but they quickly morph into their bird of prey morphs, moments before they hit the ground. From this event, the Animorphs realize that the Veleek does not like water.
The next day, Cassie develops a plan: the Animorphs head out to sea, where Cassie finds and acquires a humpback whale. She morphs into a cockroach, and Tobias flies her as high up as he can. While the remaining Animorphs morph and demorph dolphins to keep the Veleek distracted, Cassie demorphs and then morphs into the whale, all the time falling back to the sea. The Veleek attempts to capture her but cannot carry the whale's weight, and it is dragged into the sea and drowns.
- "The Crazy Lady" (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- Melissa Chapman (Mentioned)
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||--||Wolf, Siberian Tiger, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Rachel||--||Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, African Elephant, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Cassie||Humpback Whale||Fly, Squirrel, Bottlenose Dolphin, Cockroach, Humpback Whale|
|Marco||Mouse||Mouse, Wolf, Silverback Gorilla, Osprey, Bottlenose Dolphin|
|Ax||Mouse, Flea||Mouse, Human, Flea, Northern Harrier|
- This book does not feature a cover quote or inside cover quote.
- This is the only Megamorphs book to not involve any time travel or distortion.
- This is the first Animorphs book to feature narration by more than a single character.
- This is also the first book where Ax narrates, predating any of his own books. While each chapter header in Megamorphs includes a small icon showing the face of the chapter's narrator, Ax's chapters have no icon; he also does not appear on the front cover, or in the illustration. Ax's physical appearance would not be revealed until his first book, The Alien.
- This book and The Andalite Chronicles were the only books in the series which were published as separate parts in order to be released faster. The Andalite's Gift was released in 2 books, while The Andalite Chronicles was released in 3 books. Both were later compiled into one complete book later on. However, because of this (The Andalite's Gift), The Andalite Chronicles remains to be the only book in the series with 3 covers total.
- The Crazy Lady introduced in this book was once a Controller but was somehow freed from the Yeerks. She lives alone in the woods to avoid being recaptured. It is theorized by many fans that this is the same woman who rode Cassie to freedom and was the only prisoner set free from the Animorphs' first assualt on the Yeerk Pool during The Invasion.
- The events in this book take place during summer vacation.
- The Veleek is from Saturn and is the only alien life form to be from Earth's solar system. Visser Three takes credit for discovering the Veleek and named the creature.
- Three sets of two trading cards (one for each character) were given out as promotional items at the time this book was released. The sets were Ax-Tobias, Marco-Cassie, and Jake-Rachel.
- The UK Animorphs Books contain trading cards inside Books 9,10,11,12,13, and MM1. These trading cards look different from the American ones on the front, but the stats on the back are the same or very similar to the American MM1 promotional trading cards.
The Andalite's Gift was adapted as part of the Animorphs TV series, which aired on Nickelodeon and YTV between the fall of 1998 and the spring of 2000. The first <Megamorphs> book was covered by the thirteenth episode, "The Forgotten", which is the name of the eleventh book in the series (the TV episode bears no resemblance to its namesake book). The TV episodes did not follow the books faithfully, altering many aspects of the characters' roles within the Animorphs, the events in the war against the Yeerks, and added plot lines that were not present in the books.
Changes from Book to Episode
- Despite carrying the name of The Forgotten, this episode is based on one of the plot lines from The Andalite's Gift. The Veleek and its associated plot line were also not present in the episode either.
- The Animorphs knew of Rachel's bald eagle morph in the book series; Jake knew best of all which morphs each one of the Animorphs had and could use in battle. In the TV series, the other members are unaware of the fact that Rachel possesses a bird morph, a hawk much like Tobias' morph.
- The Crazy Lady is named 'Fran' in the episode, while she was nameless in the book. Also, the episode ends with her spying on the Animorphs before fleeing back into the forest; this was perhaps meant to imply that she would be a recurring character. In any event, this proved to be her final appearance.