The Eyes and the Impossible

Knopf. May 2023. 256p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524764203.
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.

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