The Eyes and the Impossible (Newbery Medal Winner)

The Eyes and the Impossible (Newbery Medal Winner)

by Dave Eggers

Narrated by Ethan Hawke

Unabridged — 5 hours, 18 minutes

The Eyes and the Impossible (Newbery Medal Winner)

The Eyes and the Impossible (Newbery Medal Winner)

by Dave Eggers

Narrated by Ethan Hawke

Unabridged — 5 hours, 18 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

The ultimate underdog story, this is an art-centric tale of a dog with a witty, thoughtful, totally dog-centric view on life and humankind that will strike a chord with young readers.

From the award-winning author of The Every comes an endearing story of a dog who unwittingly becomes a hero to a park full of animals.

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 listeners of all ages see the world around them in a wholly new way.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 03/13/2023

In this exuberant illustrated novel by previous collaborators Eggers and Harris (What Can a Citizen Do?), high-spirited narrator Johannes is an “unkept and free” dog entrusted by the Keepers of the Equilibrium—three penned Bison who oversee the park where they all live—to be the park’s Eyes. Aided by a team of “comrades, allies” known as the Assistant Eyes (seagull Bertrand, squirrel Sonja, pelican Yolanda, and raccoon Angus), Johannes reports each day’s occurrences to the Bison, including anything that might upset the Equilibrium. When construction activity is detected, Johannes encounters “rectangles full of gorgeous commotion”—an art display that transfixes him, leading to his being leashed. After a dramatic cooperative rescue devised by the Assistant Eyes, Johannes realizes the “glory of liberation” and determines to free the Bison from their enclosure. Studded with strong opinions about the park’s residents (“The ducks know nothing”), a quick-moving first-person voice melds the dog’s background, beliefs, and observations. Eggers crafts a marvelous, fully fleshed protagonist in Johannes, who is at once an ebullient braggart, a faithful and intrepid operative, and a drolly humorous reporter whose compassionate narration delivers a rousing tale of community, joyful self-reliance, and the pleasures of running very, very fast. Aligning with themes of art and perspective, Harris contributes illustrations of Johannes as added to full-page reproductions of classical landscapes. Ages 8–12. (May)

From the Publisher

"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

School Library Journal

★ 09/22/2023

Gr 3–7—Johannes, a free dog in an urban park by the sea, runs so fast that humans are blind to him. He is the "Eyes" of the park, and each day he is tasked to report the happenings he sees to the Bison. Meredith, Samuel, and Freya are the elderly bison who must protect the Equilibrium of the Park and watch out for problematic people, known as Trouble Travelers. Johannes's narration is imbued with humor, complete with exaggerated and sophisticated vocabulary. The dog knows the park is huge, but assumes it's 10,000 miles long, and thinks elderly Freya must be 6,000 years old. Many other animals coexist in the park, from the ducks who know nothing to the assistant Eyes of the park: squirrel, raccoon, a seagull, and pelican. When a new art museum is built, the mesmerizing rectangles (art pieces) cause Johannes to slow down and get nabbed by the Trouble Travelers. After his daring escape, Johannes decides the Bison should also leave their enclosures and goes about devising a plan, involving his animal friends and visiting goats. Caldecott honoree Harris has taken classical landscapes from hundreds of years past and added Johannes seamlessly to the paintings. Eggers shows animal friendships based upon coexisting and highlighting ones strengths, while helping the greater good. VERDICT 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.—Michele Shaw

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2023-02-08
A wild dog who serves as the Eyes for Bison living in a park enclosure devises a plan to free them.

Exuberant, observant dog Johannes runs daily throughout the park, which is visited by humans, reporting to Freya, Meredith, and Samuel, three old Bison who are the Keepers of the Equilibrium. Johannes and other Assistant Eyes—a sea gull, a squirrel, a pelican, and a raccoon—describe an art museum being built in the park, a “building full of chaos-rectangles.” Johannes finds it captivating, leading to his capture by humans—and subsequent rescue by the other Eyes in a demonstration of interspecies cooperation. This gives him the idea to free the Bison. The appearance of goats, who have been brought in to eat weeds, provides a friend, a revelation, and a new plan and purpose: “to pull off the impossible.” Johannes’ first-person narration is an interesting mix of poetic language, sophisticated vocabulary, philosophy, humor, hyperbole, and both short declarative and run-on sentences; his estimations of time, size, and quantity are particularly exaggerated. Johannes’ loyalty, friendship, and commitment to a noble purpose, even as his sense of self shifts, the stakes are raised, and last-minute changes to the plan occur, make him an admirable character. The artwork consists of double-page spreads reproducing magnificent fine art landscapes into which Harris has seamlessly inserted Johannes, cleverly adapting to each painter’s style and color palette.

One remarkable creature vividly shows readers that “there is so, so much to see.” (author’s note, sources) (Fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175863759
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 05/09/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years
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