A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The animals have complex feelings about where they live, and they invite readers to think about their questions and observances. Some challenging vocabulary ("ingenuity," "blight," "oblivious").
Being a good friend and staying true to yourself is a mix of empathy, integrity, kindness, and curiosity.
Positive Role Models
The park animals show great courage, demonstrate teamwork, and persevere even when their goal seems impossible. They have deep compassion for one another and want the best for their friends.
Violence & Scariness
A scared animal shares its feelings when it's captured in the park.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dave Eggers' The Eyes and the Impossible, winner of the 2024 Newbery Medal, is an outstanding adventure that approaches the complexities of friendship and individuality with deep empathy and wry humor. The inner thoughts of the main character, a dog named Johannes, immediately pull readers into a story that's almost as fast-paced as Johannes can run -- which is, according to him, faster than light. Along with other wild animals, curious Johannes serves as the Eyes of the park where they live, bringing information to three bison who monitor the equilibrium of the park as humans build and live around them. When new visitors arrive, Johannes and the Assistant Eyes plot the adventure of a lifetime -- which involves teamwork, advanced vocabulary, and increasing self awareness. Shawn Harris' delightful illustrations place Johannes into well-known landscape paintings to give readers a dog-eye view of his life in the park. There's no violence, but some readers might be scared right along with Johannes when he's in danger in an early chapter.
Is It Any Good?
This outstanding adventure story weaves complex thoughts about loyalty, friendship, and purpose into an epic escape plot that's pure bliss to read. The Eyes and the Impossible immerses readers in the mind of an energetic, contemplative dog who has no sense of time or distance but who speaks with authority about what he sees and is fiercely devoted to his friends. His thoughts about "the rectangles" lead to simple but deep questions, and his quick friendship with the goat Helene shows every aspect of his personality and priorities. The book's vocabulary is sophisticated but easy to follow, and the chatter among the animals pulls readers deep into their world and asks big questions in small ways, inviting readers to answer in their own way and own time, just like Johannes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.