Bibliographic Information: Applegate, K. A. Animorphs: The Departure (#19). New York: Scholastic, 1998.
Cassie and her friends the Animorphs have been secretly fighting the invasion of the parasitic alien Yeerks for a while now, and she’s tired of the battles and the secrets. Her identity is discovered by a Yeerk and its host. The Yeerk claims that it has a right to experience life as a human. Cassie tries to bargain for the host’s freedom, offering herself instead. The Yeerk agrees. She convinces it that enslabing other beings is bad, and it agrees to return to its other Controller on the condition that Cassie transforms into a nearby caterpillar and lives her life as it. She agrees, absorbs its DNA, and morphs. Once she is a caterpillar, she can’t hear anything that is said, and miserably stays transformed over the two hour time limit, stuck as a caterpillar forever. Eventually she metamorphosizes into a butterfly, unaware that that transformation resets the morphing time. Her friends find her and are able to communicate this, and she morphs back into her human self. The Yeerk decides to try to convince others of its species that slavery is wrong.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 510; Accelerated Reader: 3.8
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in first-person, focusing on Cassie’s moral dilemma between pacifist and warrior-protector of humanity. It teaches about how one group’s right to exist should not impact another group’s freedom. There are no illustrations in the book. The text is 4th grade reading level.
Content Area: English
Content Area Standard:
- CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
- CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
- CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5: #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
This is a great chapter book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like morality and adventure.
Main character is African-American, the rest are Caucasian (and there’s aliens).