The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

Review by Sue Domis

The author Dave Eggers has written popular adult novels such as The Every, The 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.