NOTE: The Eyes and the Impossible is being released simultaneously as a deluxe wood-bound hardcover from McSweeney’s, and as a no-less-deluxe-but-bound-in-a-more-traditional-style hardcover from Knopf Books for Young Readers. It is also available in an extra deluxe, extraordinarily oversized edition here .


Named a best book of 2023 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Common Sense Media, Shepherd, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, Booklist, Kirkus, and Powell’s Books. A New York Times and ABA Indie bestseller, Today Show Summer Pick and Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

The Eyes and the Impossible is the story of a dog named Johannes. Johannes is a free dog, a fast dog—such a fast dog! He lives in an urban park by the sea, and every day, he runs through the park, seeing all, missing nothing, and reporting what he sees to the park’s three ancient Bison, the Keepers of the Equilibrium. But the Equilibrium has been disrupted.

Mysterious rectangles are hypnotizing Johannes, humans are erecting a strange new building, and an entirely new kind of animal has arrived in the park—and there are hundreds of them. Johannes must run faster, see better, and ultimately do more than run and see—he must liberate those he loves.

Gorgeously illustrated throughout by Shawn Harris (author of Have You Ever Seen a Flower? and illustrator of Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, among many others), Dave Eggers’s The Eyes and the Impossible is a lyrical, soulful book full of wit and passion—a timeless story for readers of all ages.


Praise for The Eyes and the Impossible

“Certain children’s books take the voices of animals, or toys that become animals, and are so pure, so sincere, that they become part of our own voices. Winnie-the-Pooh is one, The Velveteen Rabbit and Charlotte’s Web others, and Dave Eggers’ The Eyes and the Impossible takes its place among them. Johannes, the Eyes of the park, who runs like light, who sees you but is never seen, is a dog who wants nothing more than to be free. With Shawn Harris’ grand illustrations, straight from the Hudson River School, Johannes is a hero for all time.”
— Juanita Giles, NPR, Books We Love

“A warm, comedic tale of interspecies friendship. Johannes is a highly engaging narrator whose exuberance and good nature run like a bright thread through the novel’s pages. It is in the way Johannes speaks about his greatest passion that Eggers shows he has done the imaginative work required to bring us closer to an animal perspective. There is a deeper story here, too, about being yourself and finding freedom. It is hinted at in the natural beauty of the deluxe version of the book, with its solid-wood front and back covers, and in Shawn Harris’s sublime illustrations. Harris places Johannes in classical landscape paintings, running free, demonstrating an appeal that is wilder and more profound than mere canine charm. We need brave, big stories like these, stories that help children (and adults) find their place in a sometimes frightening world.”
—Nicola Davies, New York Times Book Review

“Immerse yourself in this novel, and let Eggers’ physical, fast-paced writing — which is at the height of its power here — carry you through his wildly inventive narrative. With gorgeous illustrations by Shawn Harris, here is a book that is truly for all ages, as only the best stories are.”
—Isaac Fitzgerald, The Today Show (author’s pick)

“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.”
—starred review, The Bulletin

“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.”
—starred review, School Library Journal

“[An] exuberant illustrated novel. 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.”
—starred review, Publishers Weekly

“Johannes’ narration feels unique, and the story itself feels like an instant classic. This is a heartwarming adventure story with the right combination of emotion and suspense.”
The Joplin Globe

“A work of dazzling ingenuity, powered not only by Eggers’ impressive knack for inhabiting the minds of other species, but also by the physical form of McSweeney’s deluxe, all-ages edition.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“This is an exciting read for readers ages eight and up. The animals in this story 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 by artist Shawn Harris.”
—Sue Domis, bookseller at Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, WA, published in Yakima Herald-Republic

“An exhilarating, funny, frightening, mind-warping, heart-squeezing tale. Told at the speed of light. A must read. For all humans.”  
—Jon Scieszka, New York Times–bestselling author and First Inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

“So clever and engrossing and sweet. I loved it.”
—Roddy Doyle, Man Booker Prize and Irish PEN Award winner

The Eyes and the Impossible is Exhibit A in the argument for children’s books being great literature. What a hero! What a story! What a read! Honestly, it’s one of the best novels I’ve read in years. Honestly, I wish I’d written it.”
—Annie Barrows, New York Times–bestselling author of the Ivy + Bean series

The Eyes and the Impossible is a total delight: a heroic dog’s account of a thrilling adventure, during which a community determines, separately and together, how to live. I loved it.”
—E.B. White Award winner Maile Meloy, New York Times-bestselling author of Liars and Saints

The Eyes and the Impossible is hilarious, bighearted, and beautifully written. If you want to know what I think, this book right here is a significant contribution to children’s literature.”
New York Times–bestselling author Mac Barnett, three-time winner of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award

“What a beautiful book! What a funny book! What a wise book! Through the eyes of his proud but sensible canine hero, Dave Eggers invites readers into a place we think we know—a city park—and shows us a hidden world of bravery, loyalty, and muddle-headed ducks. I mean, come on, how can you not love a book where the raccoons declare, ‘We only bite for justice’?”
—Bruce Handy, author of Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult 

“Utterly delightful…Eggers touches on deep topics with a light hand, effortlessly building suspense and a wonderful sense of adventure. A merry reminder to face the truth about the world and ourselves with compassion, curiosity, and joy.”
Booklist, starred review

“This beautiful book is destined to be a classic.”
Buffalo News

“Immersive. Timeless. A thought-provoking examination of identity, belonging, and freedom. The Eyes and the Impossible is compelling and heartfelt, destined to be read again and again.”
Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Exuberant. Johannes’ first-person narration is an interesting mix of poetic language, sophisticated vocabulary, philosophy, humor, [and] hyperbole. 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.’”
Kirkus, starred review

“Funny and warm and alive. This book will make you feel good to be an animal, taking your run. The Eyes and the Impossible is the sun on your face and the wind at your back.”
—Adam Rex, New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator of On Account of the Gum

“This book is a magic trick. The kind of magic trick where you want to know how to do it so you can also write a book this good.”
—Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen

“This book has stayed with me long after finishing it. . . . Better put it on your radar. There’s something to this. Something good. Something memorable. And a lot of goats.”
—Betsy Bird, School Library Journal, Fuse 8, Newbery / Caldecott 2024: Spring Prediction Edition

“I absolutely loved this all-ages novel. A friend of mine, a middle school math teacher, likes to say, ‘If you can’t explain it to an 8-year-old, you don’t get it.’ The older I get, the more I think he’s spot-on with that observation. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading. The Eyes and The Impossible is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read – and then I found myself weeping at the end. All the cleverness and silliness lulled me into its strange and beautiful world, and then it took an existential turn that I’ll never forget, and then I found myself deeply invested in the lives and decisions of talking animals. It reminds me of Richard Linklater’s School of Rock (2003) in that it is a great work that can be enjoyed – the full spectrum of enjoyment! laughter and tears and big feeling! – by anyone of any age who enjoys good art. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a duck without chuckling again.”
—Riley Rennhack, Community/Bookstore Manager, Deep Vellum Publishing

“Dave Eggers’s latest middle grade novel is so pure and wonderful! Johannes is a free dog living in a park on an island. He’s the eyes for the Bison who rule and keep the park in harmony. Strange things are happening in the park and Johannes has a big idea. A touching and thought-provoking novel with an irresistible character. The Eyes and the Impossible is truly a delight, I loved seeing the world thorough Johannes’ eyes”
—Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee

“Johannes is a free dog, refusing to let himself be kept as a pet the way other dogs do, and he’s a keen observer. He has to be, with his senses trained on everything needed to survive in a huge urban park. He’s the Eyes, and other animals act as his Assistant Eyes. Together they watch for any changes that upset their park Equilibrium, and they report directly to the bison who have long lived as kept animals. Some of the people in the park are a stable and likable part of the Equilibrium. Others pose a threat, and human threats become harrowing in a flash. Young readers will be drawn to the original thinking, wisdom, and sly humor of the animals, as they comment on the strange behaviors of people without seeming human themselves. We get a marvelous look inside a world easily overlooked in our daily lives. We get a spine-tingling, profound conclusion, and we’re treated to a uniquely beautiful book. The artwork, the paper quality, the gilded edges, and the carved wooden cover all make this a book lovers dream!”
—Tim McCarthy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI