The Change, published in November 1997 and written by K.A. Applegate, is the thirteenth book in the Animorphs series. It is the second book narrated by Tobias.

This article is written from a Real World point of view.


Official Description

Tobias has pretty much gotten used to his life. He's a red-tailed hawk with the mind of a kid. It was weird when he first got trapped in morph. But now it's almost okay. After all, how many kids actually get the chance to fly?

Now Tobias is about to make a very special choice. A choice that the other Animorphs and Ax know nothing about. And it could mean the difference between being a hawk...and being human...

Plot Summary

Tobias is flying over school and sees Rachel outside and decides to take her on a tour to show her the entrance to the Yeerk pool that he had discovered. Soon, though, he finds he is not where he was heading; they suddenly are flying over the forest, without warning. He turns and turns but cannot get to the spot he wants to go to. They try to fly away but discover that they are still in the same spot. Then they notice one of the trees sliding to reveal a secret hole and out from that hole pops two Hork-Bajir. They are then promptly pursued by human-Controllers on dirtbikes and jeeps, bristling with shotguns and automatic rifles. Tobias and Rachel decide to help the supposed fugitives. They lead one to safety, but the other trips over and falls into a ditch. The first Hork-Bajir screams to the other in the Hork-Bajir language, but they do not understand, he then explains to them that the other Hork-Bajir is his wife. They tell him to run or he might die, and the Hork-Bajir runs for his life. Tobias then leads him to a cave for the time being.


Inside cover in which Tobias, in his hawk form, acquires his previous human self in his bedroom.

After telling the other Animorphs what happened, they suspect that it could be a Yeerk trap to lure them out, but they return to the cave the Hork-Bajir is hiding in, with Ax and Tobias chosen to deal with the Hork-Bajir, while the others would stay close by in morph. After almost beheading Ax, the Hork-Bajir comes out, he calls himself Jara Hamee. Ax isn't convinced he's not a Controller, so to prove it, Jara slices open his head and opens up the gash. Horrified, but seeing no Yeerk, the Animorphs have some peace of mind. Just then, Controllers find out where they were. The team concocts a plan. In order to help Jara escape, Rachel morphs him. Tobias is worried about the one he loves, and so he hitches a ride on one of her forehead blades. However, the human-hawk slaps into a branch, is knocked off, and finds himself in a clearing that belonged to a Swainson's Hawk, where the Hork-Bajir from before is cornered by a group of human-Controllers, one of which is revealed to be Visser Three, who demorphs and calls the Hork-Bajir Ket Halpak. Tobias provides a distraction by drawing out the aggressive Swainson's hawk, and it rakes the Visser's stalk eyes, allowing Ket to escape.

With Jara Hamee and Ket Halpak reunited, the Animorphs now decide where to hide them. Tobias suggests a hidden valley that had fresh streams, a meadow, and tall trees. But he'd never seen the place in his life, even though the images are clear in his mind. Tobias now suspects foul play - and that someone or something is manipulating him. During the night while he is guarding the Hork-Bajir along with Ax, Tobias suddenly has visions of tracker Taxxons hunting. He doesn't know exactly but he has a feeling that they are tracking him. To avoid the Taxxons picking up the Hork-Bajir scent, Tobias and Ax take the Hork-Bajir and retreat further toward the mountains. While riding on the Hork-Bajir, Jara tells Tobias that a voice in his head told him to escape from the Yeerk Pool and that "it" would send a guide while he was trapped in the Yeerk Pool. Frustrated about being used, Tobias stops everyone and demands to find out what is happening. He yells in his head and asks who is manipulating him. Tobias then finds himself in another plane, and sees himself as a cross between human and hawk, and a third thing. And then he encounters the Ellimist, who explains that while his species does not interfere with other peoples' lives, he wishes to save the Hork-Bajir. He also learns that when he could not get anywhere earlier and the images in his head were all the Ellimist's doing. Frustrated, Tobias wants to be made human in return for his efforts. The Ellimist says that he knows what Tobias wants, but asks Tobias if he himself really knows what he wants.

Tobias and the Animorphs take the Hork-Bajir to the mountains, pursued by Yeerks in Dracon beam-wielding helicopters, Hork-Bajir and Taxxons. Tobias, out hunting breakfast, is caught in the helicopter's rotor vacuum, and breaks his wing. He is immediately discovered by a raccoon, who prepares to eat him. At that moment, the Ellimist makes Tobias able to morph again, but does not return him to human form. Tobias is enraged, accusing the omniscient being of not keeping his promise. Tobias escapes by acquiring and morphing the raccoon, and rejoins the others.

The Animorphs realize that the Yeerks will not give up until the free Hork-Bajir are dead, because if the two of them escape safely, others would try to do the same, and since Jara and Ket revealed their true identities, if they are re-captured, the Yeerks would discover the true human identities of the "Andalite Bandits." Tobias comes up with a plan. He first morphs Ket and, together with Rachel as Jara, go over to the ravine. Rachel and Tobias yell "Jara Hamee Free!!!!" and "Ket Halpak free!!!" respectively, convincing Visser Three that they are the escaped Hork-Bajir. The two Animorphs jump over the ravine and are caught by Marco, in gorilla morph, in a small cave right below the top of the ravine that is not visible from the top. At the bottom, the real Ket Halpak and Jara Hamee are pretending to be dead, while Cassie and Jake are in wolf morph, and they pretend to eat them. Visser Three is convinced that they are dead and the Yeerks give up searching. The Animorphs then take the Hork-Bajir to the valley, which is mysteriously difficult to locate from a distance, unless you knew it was there.

The human-hawk Tobias has his morphing power back. He thinks about what the Ellimist had said, and laments that maybe he didn't want to be a human again. Tobias falls asleep, and suddenly wakes up in his old bedroom---the Ellimist apparently having sent him back in time to the night before he first met Elfangor. The "past" Tobias (human) wakes up, and the "present" Tobias (hawk) acquires his DNA before the past version falls back asleep. He also tells him to go to the construction site with Jake. As a result, he can morph his own human body for up to two hours at a time (or, as later books will point out, stay in human form forever---the Ellimist, in this way, was giving him a choice.) The next day, he shows up at school for Rachel's Packard Foundation Outstanding Student award ceremony, as a human, to Rachel's amazement.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:




Contributions to the Series' Story Arc


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Siberian Tiger, Peregrine Falcon, Wolf
Rachel Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee) Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee)
Cassie -- Great Horned Owl, Osprey, Wolf
Marco -- Silverback Gorilla, Osprey, Wolf
Tobias Raccoon, Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), Human (himself) Raccoon, Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), Human (himself)
Ax -- Northern Harrier
Visser Three -- Human


  • The front cover quote is "Be afraid..."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "It was only a dream...or was it?"
  • Dude cat 13 the change inside cover higher res

    Tobias's cat Dude (also Mattingly's cat Orson)

    A picture of illustrator David Mattingly's cat, "Orson", can be seen in the first-page illustration of this book, standing in for Tobias' own cat, his first-ever morph, "Dude".
  • This is not the fifth book to feature a cover morph that was not acquired in the book, as Tobias is in fact morphing from his new hawk body into his old human self, which he acquires and morphs at the end of this book. By this point in the series, the author had been asked several times by fans to make Tobias human again.
  • ANIBASE: K.A. on why she chose a red-tailed hawk morph for Tobias to be trapped in:
"Tobias' form was chosen because red-tails are among the most common hawks in the US. I liked thinking that kids driving with their folks across Kansas or wherever would daydream that they were seeing Tobias. Probably should have made him a turkey buzzard, they're so ubiquitous. I knew right from the start I would trap Tobias in morph, by the way, never a doubt. Had to be. I knew it would drive some readers crazy, but I also knew they'd want to know more."
  • The re-gifting of Tobias's morphing power isn't openly discussed amongst the Animorphs in this book (or in any of the future books for that matter), aside from him letting the others know in battle that he can morph again. Tobias later filled the group on what happened with him and the Ellimist 'off-screen', between this book and the next.
  • This book marks the first time where the Hork-Bajir race is free from the Yeerks since their fall in The Hork-Bajir Chronicles. The events in this book leads to the free Hork-Bajir colony and the rebirth of their seer (Toby, in HBC's epilogue), as they live in a secret hidden valley in mountains, hidden from both the Yeerks and the Humans as they rebuild their race and way of life.
  • FAQ: Tobias receives his morphing power back from the Ellimist in this book and is able to acquire his former self the night before he left for the construction site in #1: The Invasion. One of the most asked questions by fans is that why didn't Tobias just trap himself into his human self and get the morphing power back once they got the Escafil Device in #20: The Discovery. This is a debatable topic, however, they are two answers:
    1. The most common answer is that the Escafil Device just doesn't work that way. Once a morphing power is given, it can't be given again to the same person, even if they are trapped as a nothlit in another form. The fact that the Ellimist returned Tobias's morphing power is an anomaly in itself, and a one-time opportunity, which cannot be repeated again unless it's from the Ellimist or a higher being such as him.
    2. Tobias did not wish to go back to being human because he had nothing to go back to. He never had a home his entire life, because he was always passed back and forth between his relatives. And although unconfirmed, it is highly likely that Tobias accidentally being trapped as a hawk wasn't an accident at all, but done on purpose as a means to escape his human life in the first place.
      It backs the reason as to why the Ellimist here gives Tobias what he wants the most: to be able to morph and join the Animorphs in the fight, not to permanently return being human, even though he still gives him the chance to discourage his past self, and another chance by letting him acquire his older self to permanently return as a human if he so wished. Jake himself adds in #26: The Attack that the Ellimist had given Tobias what he really wanted (to really be a part of the team) and that Rachel just couldn't bring herself to admit that Tobias preferred to be a hawk over a human.
  • Continuity Note / Reading Order: This book was published at the same time as The Andalite Chronicles, but both can be read before the other, without any harm in understanding the continuity. However, it is much preferable to read The Andalite Chronicles first, as it will give you a better idea of why the Ellimist takes a special interest to Tobias in this book and in the series, and how Tobias's situation here quite ironically also mirrors Elfangor's life when the Ellimist deals with him first.
    The most specific thing being that both Elfangor and Tobias (father and son) took advantage of the morphing power's time limit as a means to permanently escape their original lives, and both times the Ellimist had to "not interfere" to give them a second chance, by putting them back into the fight.


US Images

International Covers

International Back Covers

Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs


Taken from

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