The Eyes & the Impossible

The Eyes & the Impossible cover
The Eyes & the Impossible by Dave Eggers. Illustrations of Johannes by Shawn Harris

By Dave Eggers
Illustrated by Shawn Harris
Alfred A. Knopf, 2023
249 pages

Ages 7-11

Johannes takes his job as the “eyes” of the seaside park where he’s lived in the wild since he was a puppy very seriously. His best friend, seagull Bernard; Sonja, a squirrel; Angus, a raccoon; and Yolanda, a pelican, all assist him. Johannes reports nightly to the three bison who live in a fenced off area and maintain the park’s “equilibrium.” One day Johannes, usually hyper-aware of his surroundings, is so mesmerized by paintings at an art show in the park that he’s snatched by a group of humans. Johannes’s friends thwart the effort to dognap him, but Johannes comes away from the experience with a new appreciation for freedom and realizes the bison deserve to be free, too. Johannes’s friends are willing to help plan and execute a mission to free the bison, but they want to help Johannes, too: A museum is opening in the park, and they’re determined to get Johannes safely inside to view the art, since he clearly finds it fascinating. There’s more than one “impossible”—and a whole herd of goats—in this funny and philosophical, tender, action-packed story. Heroic and hilarious, it illuminates acts of compassion and friendship, and more than one revelation that has Johannes expanding his understanding of himself, his friends, and the world. As a narrator, Johannes is enthusiastic, earnest, endearing, and droll in a wonderful choice for reading aloud or reading alone. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center