|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "We all know something is wrong in that house. Melissa is still my friend. Maybe somehow I can help her."
"Your job is not to help Melissa Chapman. You're supposed to be spying on Chapman. You're supposed to be finding some way for us to get at the Yeerks, so that we can all turn into wild animals and get ourselves killed."
- ―Rachel and Marco
Official Description (web site)
Morphing is certainly more fun than Sega -- you can soar as an eagle and walk as a cat. But being an ANIMORPH is by no means just fun and games. Rachel knew better than anyone. One of her best friends, Melissa, is acting very strange. And it looks like Melissa's dad, who is also the school's Assistant Principal, may be connected to evil aliens. Rachel can't tell Melissa what the ANIMORPHS have learned, but Melissa doesn't seem interested in talking to Rachel these days anyway. Could Melissa be one of "them?"
With the help of Jake, Cassie, Tobias and Marco, Rachel plans to enter her friend's house as a cat, intent on unlocking the secrets from within. If only Rachel could keep her mind off mice...
Official Description (back cover summary)
If someone told you Earth was under a silent attack, there's a good chance you'd think they were pretty stranger. If that same person said Earth's only means of defense depends on the actions and powers of five kids, you'd probably start to look for a quick exit. Guess what? It's all true.
Rachel and her friends knew they were in for some pretty strange stuff from the very beginning. How often do you run into a dying alien who gives you the power to morph into any animal you touch? But that was before they knew what they would be up against. Now they know. And they know what they have to do. Before it's too late...
The Animorphs are all out together flying in the bird-of-prey morphs that they have acquired. Jake is a peregrine falcon, Rachel is a bald eagle, and Cassie and Marco are both ospreys. Tobias helps Rachel get the hang of flying and everyone enjoys the experience. Suddenly, something passes through them. Cassie is able to see that its two guys in the woods with a rifle. Using their human intelligence with their raptor morphs, they're able to dodge the bullets, then Rachel come up with an idea: They fly out of range of the shooters and get far enough away and enter into a steep dive towards the trees banking and zooming through them until they come up to a clearing where the two guys were, scanning the skies, looking for those birds, not knowing what will happen until it was too late. Rachel snatches the rifle and retreats, though it was a struggle to gain altitude with the additional weight of the rifle. Flapping hard, she makes it out towards the beach, where she disposes of the rifle about a mile out in the ocean.
While walking home from their little flying adventure, they decide that they need to make their next move against the Yeerks, but the only lead they have is that Chapman, their assistant principal, is a Controller. Jake asks Rachel to try to get to him through his daughter Melissa, who is an old friend of hers. However, Melissa has become distant lately, and Rachel fears she has become a Controller like her father. Rachel remembers Melissa's pet cat Fluffer McKitty, and the Animorphs decide that Rachel will morph Fluffer in order to infiltrate Chapman's house to find out more information.
Rachel first acquires and morphs a shrew, in order to lure the cat so she can then acquire it. Once in shrew morph she panics when the cat attacks her, but the others eventually catch Fluffer. Rachel demorphs and acquires the cat, but they have spent so long capturing Fluffer that they decide to go inside Chapman's house at another time. Three nights later, after Rachel morphs into the cat and gets into the house, she follows Chapman into a secret room in his basement and discovers that he communicates directly with Visser Three through holographic technology, and he addresses himself as Iniss 226. While in the room, she is spotted by Visser Three, who orders Chapman to kill her because she might be an Andalite. Rachel doesn't react, and Chapman reasons with Visser Three to allow Rachel to escape shaken, but unharmed. Before she leaves the house, Rachel follows Melissa and learns that she is not a Controller, but has pulled away from her friends because she believes her parents — both Controllers — don't love her anymore.
Rachel decides to keep the encounter with Visser Three a secret from the others, and convinces them that she needs to infiltrate Chapman's house again. She does so a few nights later, this time with Jake stowed away on her back as a flea. Rachel is careful to stay out of Chapman's and Visser Three's sights, but is found out again. Visser Three is sure now that she is an Andalite bandit, and orders Chapman to bring Rachel to him. He also tells Chapman to bring Melissa so that she can be infested because she is a security risk to Yeerks; it was her cat that the "Andalite" used. Chapman and his wife rebel against their Yeerks, causing their Yeerks to momentarily lose control of the host-bodies and fight to take it back, but their Yeerks regain control. Chapman's Yeerk is tired by the effort and opts not to take Melissa, planning to explain the circumstances face to face with the Visser.
Chapman takes Rachel and Jake, who's still a flea, to the abandoned construction site, and Iniss 226 allows Chapman, his host, to speak to Visser Three. Chapman reminds the Visser that he willingly became a Controller on the condition that the Yeerks stay away from Melissa, and if they were to violate that contract, he would make life as hard as he could for the Yeerk in his head. Since Chapman is in a position of some influence at the school and is regularly meeting with parents, this would be very disastrous, and Visser Three grudgingly gives in. As Rachel is taken into the Blade ship, one of the earth-movers starts up and slowly heads toward it. The other Animorphs had showed up to rescue them. Jake jumps out and demorphs back into human, and then morphs into his tiger morph to face the Visser.
A Dracon beam incinerates the earthmover, destroying it, but a second earthmover starts up. Rachel heads to a half-finished building to demorph, when suddenly she hears giant steps and the concrete is torn apart. It was Visser Three, who had morphed into a giant rock beast with three legs and a human-sized head. He almost catches Rachel when the second earthmover destroys a Bug fighter, allowing Rachel to run along the top of the wall. But Visser Three sweeps his huge hand toward Rachel, but she jumps, heading toward a rusted, twisted metal covered ground when Tobias shows up and catches Rachel. They fly towards the trees where Tobias drops Rachel and as she's falls, she morphs back to human and she sees Visser Three in a fury after the Animorphs had escaped again. The next day, she writes an anonymous note to Melissa, telling her that her father loves her more than ever, despite not being able to show it.
- Melissa Chapman (First Appearance)
- Visser Three
- Chapman/Iniss 226 (Yeerk First Named)
- Mrs. Chapman (First Appearance)
- Various Hork-Bajir, Taxxon and Human-Controllers
- Naomi (First Appearance)
- Jordan (First Appearance)
- Sara (First Appearance)
- Fluffer McKitty (First Appearance) (Only Appearance)
- The Animorphs acquire their bird-of-prey morphs.
- It is revealed that Chapman and his wife became voluntary hosts in order to spare their daughter from infestation.
- The Council of Thirteen and the Yeerk homeworld are mentioned for the first time.
|Morpher||Morphs acquired||Morphs used|
|Jake||Peregrine Falcon, Flea||Peregrine Falcon, Flea, Siberian Tiger|
|Rachel||Bald Eagle, Shrew, Tomcat (Fluffer McKitty)|
|Visser Three||Vanarx (mentioned)||Vanarx, Unnamed three-legged Rock Beast|
The Visitor 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. It was covered in episode five, "Between Friends". 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.
- Chapman didn't take Rachel to the abandoned construction site, he took her to a mansion.
- Mrs. Chapman did not make an appearance in the episode.
- Jake didn't stow away on Rachel's back as a flea, he followed Chapman in dog morph.
- The front cover quote is "No one knows who they are.".
- The inside front cover quote is, "Nine lives are better than one....".
- While almost all of the regular numerical Animorphs book covers (and all the Megamorphs) were illustrated by David B. Mattingly, the first two book covers were created by Peter Bollinger (#1) and Tim O'Brien (#2). Most likely because of this, the models didn't begin to show up in full body shots until David B. Mattingly started doing covers with #3, where the model would be photographed in loosely clothed outfits (conflicting with what the books stated about the Animorphs never being able to morph while wearing anything other than skintight clothes). This was done for artistic reasons, to make the covers more interesting.
- This was one of the only books to have a web site summary that is significantly different from the back cover summary.
- The events of this book take place just one week after the first one.
- This is the first instance in the series where Tobias is referred to as "Bird boy", a nickname that would be used quite often as the series progressed.
- ANIBASE: K.A. Applegate originally planned for Ax to make his debut in this book.
- ANIBASE: While the author doesn't have a cat named "Fluffer McKitty", her own cats do have interesting names: "Rabbit", and "Dick the Evil Foot-biting Cat".
- The Answer reveals that the Animorphs were 13 at the start of the series. Rachel explicitly states in this book that it takes place a week or so after their first Yeerk pool attack (the events of The Invasion). However, she later shows a photo of her, Melissa and Fluffer from Melissa's 12th birthday a having taken place "few years ago".
- Rachel's age being thirteen makes it even more disturbing as a college-aged man attempted to kidnap and sexually assault her.
- Shrews are referred to belonging under the class of rodent on p54, but they are actually insectivore.
- A mention is made about being sent to the Council of Thirteen and the Yeerk homeworld, both of which has been said to be under Andalite quarantine since The Hork-Bajir Chronicles.
- Cassie tells Rachel that at four morphs (elephant, bald eagle, shrew, cat), she has the most morphs out of anyone. However, at that point Jake also had four morphs (dog, lizard, tiger, falcon).
- On p128, Jake's thought-speak quote ends in a regular quote.
- On p148, the phrase "Three craft" is supposed to be plural, but it's missing an 's'.
- Visser Three picks up the cat carrier with a cat inside on p155. A page later, he chokes Chapman. But throughout the rest of the series, Andalite arms are shown to be very weak. This is demonstrated in #29, p120 when a Yeerk escapes Visser Three's grasp.
2011 Relaunch Differences
- The 1996 cover shows Rachel morphing into a gray cat, although the book describes Fluffer as black and white, in patches. The 2011 Relaunch cover gets it right.
- In the original edition, Marco refers to a woman as a "skank"; in the reprint, it is changed to "dog".
- In the original edition, Rachel refers to their morphing as "creepazoid"; in the reprint, it is changed to "totally creepy".
- In the original edition, Rachel mentions that she had dreams of being the next Shannon Miller; in the reprint, she merely states she wished to be a gold medalist.
- In the original edition, it is mentioned that Marco listened to a CD player in class; in the reprint, is is slightly modified to state that Marco was listening to music in class, removing the CD player part as an effort to update outdated references.
- In the original edition, Spider-Man is written as "Spiderman"; the reprint fixes this by adding the hyphen.
- The original edition has Marco mentioning "Morris the cat"; the reference is removed in the reprint.
- In the original edition, Cassie tells Rachel to "take a pill" when she is agitated during a morph. In the reprint, Cassie tells her to "chill out" instead.
- The original edition has a reference to the "Death of Superman" story arc, when Marco mentions that he wishes they were in a comic book since the characters don't die, with the exception of Superman, who was soon resurrected. In the reprint, Marco merely states that "the big ones don't die, and even when they do, it's temporary," removing the Superman reference.
- The spelling of "Salad Shooter" is changed to "SaladShooter".