The Eyes and the Impossible: (Newbery Medal Winner) (Hardcover)

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The Eyes and the Impossible: (Newbery Medal Winner) By Dave Eggers, Shawn Harris (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Dave Eggers, Shawn Harris (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

The author Dave Eggers has written popular adult novels such as The EveryThe Circle and A Hologram for The King. He is also the author of young readers' fiction such as Her Right Foot, and The Lifters. Dave Eggers is also the founder of the popular publication McSweeney's. His newest children's work is the book The Eyes & the impossible. This is an exciting read for readers ages 8 and up. The animals in his latest book are very bright, funny and engaging. People of all ages who appreciate good animal fiction will enjoy this read. Besides beautiful writing, the book is enhanced with classical landscape paintings with the main character, Johannes, added to each painting. Shawn Harris is the artist who added Johannes to the paintings.

The Eyes & the Impossible is not meant to be an allegory. In Eggers forward to the book, he writes that the book is fiction. "No places are real places, no animals are real animals." And that "no animals symbolize people. Here dogs are dogs, birds are birds, goats are goats, and the Bison Bison."

The book takes place in a very large fenced, rural park. There are seagulls and other birds, raccoons, squirrels; the usual park residents. Johannes is the Eye for all the animals in the park. He watches and can keep them informed of what is happening. The wisest animals in the book are three ancient Bison. If there was a problem, Johannes would tell the Bison and they would come up with wise solutions. For example, when a new road is put in by the Park People, the Bison determine that it is time for the raccoons to move to another spot in the park. At one point in the story, Johannes is not as watchful as he usually is captured by the notorious Trouble Travelers. The dog's friends; two seagulls and a squirrel, witness the abduction and carry out a successful escape.

The Eye & the Impossible is a very fun and exciting read  that children will enjoy as they root for Johannes and his friends. There is some excitement in the book, such as when Johannes is captured by the Trouble Travelers. Two of the seagulls  and a squirrel managed to help him escape. There is some sadness  in the book as there is in life. But, for the most part, Johannes is such a free and bright animal that it is a joy  to follow his many adventures.

Johannes tells the reader that we will never see him because he is so fast. He is such a fast runner that he "runs like a rocket, like a laser" and when he runs he "pulls at the earth and makes it turn." He runs "like light and human eyes are blind to him."

The book ends happily as Johannes and one of his friends are off on a new adventure in a new direction. We wish we could keep traveling with him.

— Sue Domis


NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An enthralling middle-grade novel by award-winning author Dave Eggers, told from the perspective of one uniquely endearing dog— featuring beautiful color artwork with illustrations by Caldecott honoree Shawn Harris.
“Johannes is a highly engaging narrator whose exuberance and good nature run like a bright thread through the novel’s pages.” —The New York Times

Johannes, a free dog, lives in an urban park by the sea. His job is to be the Eyes—to see everything that happens within the park and report back to the park’s elders, three ancient Bison. His friends—a seagull, a raccoon, a squirrel, and a pelican—work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and other animals who share the park and making sure the Equilibrium is in balance. 

But changes are afoot. More humans, including Trouble Travelers, arrive in the park. A new building, containing mysterious and hypnotic rectangles, goes up. And then there are the goats—an actual boatload of goats—who appear, along with a shocking revelation that changes Johannes’s view of the world.

A story about friendship, beauty, liberation, and running very, very fast, The Eyes & the Impossible will make readers of all ages see the world around them in a wholly new way.

About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of the Newbery Medal winner The Eyes and the Impossible, along with bestsellers The Every, The Monk of Mokha, The Circle, A Hologram for the King, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. His work has been nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco, and cofounder of 826 National, a network of educational centers around the country offering free tutoring to kids of all backgrounds.

He lives in Northern California with his family.

Shawn Harris is the author/illustrator of Have You Ever Seen a Flower?, which won a Caldecott Honor Award. He is the illustrator of Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, which received seven starred reviews, was an Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book, an ALA Notable, and a PW Best Book of the Year. His other picture books include Eggers's What Can a Citizen Do (a Time Magazine Best Children's Book), Everyone's Awake by Colin Meloy, and A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett.

Shawn got his start as an illustrator in the early 2000s, creating album art for bands, including his own, the Matches. He lives in Northern California and enjoys surfing.

Praise For…

"Johannes is a highly engaging narrator whose exuberance and good nature run like a bright thread through the novel’s pages…. There is a deeper story here, too, about being yourself and finding freedom." —New York Times

“[Johannes is] one of the most appealing heroes in recent children’s literature... an early standout for 2023 and, as it happens, a lot of fun to read aloud.” —The Wall Street Journal

“This outstanding adventure story weaves complex thoughts about loyalty, friendship, and purpose into an epic escape plot that's pure bliss to read.” —Common Sense Media

“This book is begging to be read aloud to oneself and to others. You’ll want to use your most special bookmark and find an honored place to keep this gem.” The Denver Post

★ “Utterly delightful…. Eggers touches on deep topics with a light hand, effortlessly building suspense and a wonderful sense of adventure.” —Booklist, starred review

★ "One remarkable creature vividly shows readers that ‘there is so, so much to see.’” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Eggers crafts a marvelous, fully fleshed protagonist in Johannes....whose compassionate narration delivers a rousing tale of community, joyful self-reliance, and the pleasures of running very, very fast.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "Animal lovers will be enthralled, and even for readers who mostly stick with humans, this is a standout example of the power of chosen family rather than biological ones." —The Bulletin, starred review

★ “The Eyes and the Impossible is compelling and heartfelt, destined to be read again and again.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

★ “Almost proselike, the voices and personalities of Johannes and his comrades are endearing; their unique story will enchant readers and encourage them to focus on what is most important in life.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781524764203
ISBN-10: 1524764205
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 9th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English