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.
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.