The Invasion - Katherine Applegate

The 90's was a hard time to be any other series aimed at kids that was not Harry Potter.  Well, maybe not THAT hard - once kids got their first taste of literature that spoke to them on a personal level, they raped their parents' bank accounts on all sorts of books.    Promises of better grades, of doing more chores - anything, as long as they could get their little hands on the filthy lucre that the kids' section of the bookstore produced.


And then along comes a major cause for the continuous begging of parental money - a mainstay of being a 90's kid in the middle of America...


Scholastic Book Fairs!   Yay!



I don't know any kids, except for those little turds who "hated" reading that were not hopping with joy when we got let out of class time to be unscrupulously battered by the sight of SO MUCH BRIGHT SHIT OH MY GOD.  Better hope you're not a poor kid today, because you're gonna look real lame if you don't at least buy a Captain Underpants or whatever was popular that you girly-girls liked to read (American Girl? Seriously, when it comes to gendered reading choices, you really came up short, in terms of imagination, when it comes to being a pink-princess-horsey-girl).


And then there was Animorphs.


Let me be frank here - I don't know who Applegate sacrificed virgins to in order to get the most unwarranted visibility in history, courtesy of the advertising that Scholastic was able to give her for her books that were about children being able to transform into animals (and, later you would hear rumored from other kids who had the cash to keep up with the series as it spiraled well past a book 30, alieennnss) to fight an alien invasion of some of the most nightmare-inducing alien species ever marketed towards children.



Hold on to your hat - that's not even a villainous alien race - that's an Andalite, and they're totally the good guys in this Yeerk invasion.   Yes, the creepy, muscular centaur monster with a scorpion's tail and disturbing eye-stalk-y face is the GOOD alien race.


Want to see a villainous alien?



This thing straight-up has the loving features of a Jabberwocky. 


Oh and also, Yeerks.



That, ladies and gentlemen, goes into your ear and proceeds to use you like its own personal Jager.  Hope you haven't got any lingering Earwig nightmares!


And one other thing before I get into the 1st book itself - I was happy to find a beat-up version of the original, complete with cheeseball cover art that enticed the kiddies to begin with.  As it turns out, Scholastic has tried to profit once again from its once near-flagship series, complete with new (improved!) cover art! 


So, what does The Invasion look like with its shiny new cover?



Look upon the face of "improved cover art" and despair!   What?  Why?  WHY SCHOLASTIC, WHY?


I blame this godawful choice in art for the implosion of the comeback they attempted in the 2000's with the re-release of the series with shitty covers like this as the face of the NEW generation of Animorphs.  You know what - the original covers ARE cheesy, they ARE downright ugly and, yes, in the second through the fourth "morphing" faces the kid on the cover of the first has in the original, he looks like a CG-induced nightmare that comes out of uncanny valley and is aimed at your throat with a knife, but... at least it's fun!  


Do you guys remember fun?  I think we ate all of the fun and thus none of the 2000's kids got much of any and have to settle for stories about HamstersAmerican Girl is the biggest thing ever now for girls - I mean, at least in the 90's there was this rather naive attempt at making things for gurlz that didn't have to be situated in that dreaded pink aisle and, dammit, we had Goosebumps, which, for all of it's own doofy 90's-Canadian-awfulness/amazingness ALWAYS featured at least one girl character, usually of the Tomboy variety:


Look upon my flannel and butch hair cut and DESPAIR


Wait - shit - where was I?  Damn, that Pink Aisle always gets me.    Anyway, here's another Animorphs alien.  I'm told this one's called a "Howler":



Ain't he a peach?