The Discovery is the twentieth book in the Animorphs series, written by K.A. Applegate. It is narrated by Marco.

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


Official Description

The blue box Elfangor used to create the Animorphs has been found by a kid named David. David has no idea what he has -- or what it can do. But Marco does. And when he sees David with it, he knows the Animorphs have to get that box. At any cost.

But what should have been a simple plan ends up going horribly wrong. And David is on the run with the Animorphs and Ax. Now they have only two choices: turn David over to the Yeerks. Or make him the sixth Animorph.

Plot Summary

After failing miserably to pick up a girl at his locker, Marco is stymied to find a boy carrying the morphing cube, also known as the Escafil Device. Marco introduces himself to the new boy, David, and lamely tries to buy the box off him, but David ignores him. Marco tells Jake about it, and both agree that the situation needs to be taken care of immediately. But that's not the only surprise in store for them. Erek King tells them that a group of G8 leaders (including those from Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, and the U.S.) are gathering at the Marriott Hotel resort on the city coast to discuss the problems in the Middle East. Erek also tells them that the Yeerks are plotting to infest each leader, and soon the most powerful nations in the world would be under Yeerk influence. The biggest problem is that one of these heads of state is already a Controller. Now the Animorphs need two plans: one to retrieve the blue box, and another to stop the Yeerks from taking over the world.

Animorphs discovery book 20 inside cover

Inside cover showing Marco morphed as David's cobra Spawn underneath David's bed, while a Hork-Bajir controller invades the house.

Marco, Tobias and Rachel try to raid David's house in bird of prey morphs. Unfortunately, it fails miserably. Tobias is knocked unconscious, Marco is attacked by David's cat, and David shoots Rachel with his BB gun. The next day at school, David tells Marco his seemingly ridiculous story about trained robber birds, and discusses his plan to sell the blue box online. Marco immediately skips the rest of the school day in order to stop the automatic e-mail David has set up from going out.

During school, Marco takes Ax with him to stop David's e-mail from being sent. Unfortunately, they're too late, due to David's computer's clock being an hour fast. Marco acquires Spawn, David's contraband, defanged cobra. Visser Three storms into David's house with a team of Hork-Bajir. A fight ensues between the Yeerks and the Animorphs, destroying David's house. Rachel, in bear morph, rams David out the window, and the Animorphs retreat. The Yeerks withdraw with David's mother and father.

The Animorphs are unsure of what to do with David; although Ax draws attention to the fact that they can use the box to give him the power to morph, the Animorphs vote on whether or not to do it. Marco and Ax decide that they cannot risk recruiting David, given his strange behavior and their lack of knowledge of him. Tobias votes to take him in out of moral concern, while Rachel and Cassie decide that David might be their ticket to recruiting more Animorphs. With Marco and Ax outvoted, they reveal to David the Yeerk invasion and give him the morphing power.

From the very beginning of his recruitment, David displays his eagerness to kill, and disobeys Jake's orders. David also does not seem concerned enough about his parents being Controllers. (It is only through Marco showing him that his parents are indeed Controllers that it finally resonates with him.) On the way to the Marriott resort, David indiscriminately kills a crow, although he passes it off as his morph's instincts taking control.

As they near the resort, they spot the Blade Ship taking the Marine One helicopter hostage. The Animorphs, fearing that the Yeerks have captured the President of the United States, enter the Visser's ship. The Animorphs are then discovered in cockroach morph, and end up falling out of the Blade Ship, and down into the ocean.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Contributions to the Series' Story Arc

  • David is introduced.
  • The Escafil device is re-introduced since it has been found. This will play a key role toward the end of the series.
  • David joins the Animorphs, and begins the first time the Animorphs grapple with the idea of adding more members to help them fight.


Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake -- Peregrine Falcon, Siberian Tiger, Cockroach, Rhinoceros
Rachel -- Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, Cockroach
Cassie -- Osprey, Wolf, Cockroach
Marco Cobra (Spawn) Osprey, Cobra (Spawn), Cockroach
Tobias --
Ax -- Northern Harrier, Wolf Spider, Human, Cockroach
David Golden Eagle, Cockroach, African Lion Golden Eagle, Cockroach
Visser Three -- Dule Fansa


  • The cover quote is, "Get ready. There's a brand-new Animorph...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "This is no snake in the grass...."
  • This book is part 1 of a three-part arc called "The David Trilogy."
  • ANIBASE : Way back in December of 1997, the Scholastic Website hosted a week long "chat" with K.A. Applegate. Everyday for a week she would come onto the message board they had set up and answer questions from her readers. One of those readers, a boy named Justin Mullins, asked if he could have his name written into a book. K.A. agreed, but said that she'd only do it for him, since he asked first. Likewise, a class from Grassy Creek Elementary School asked if they could perhaps get a dedication, and again K.A. agreed. It's in this book that K.A. chose to place both Grassy Creek and Justin: Grassy Creek's dedication is right above the ever present dedication for Michael and Jake, and Justin's namesake is a boy who chases Marco around the school!
  • Publication Note: A price change occurred for the regular Animorphs books starting with this book (#20) by going up $1. Books from #1-19 were originally $3.99 US ($4.99 CAN), and Books #20-54 were changed to $4.99 US ($5.99 CAN).
  • Beakanoma - A disease fabricated by Marco and Jake to explain why the half-demorphed Marco looked like a little kid with a beak.

Gallery (US)

International Covers

International Back Covers

Taken from

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

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