Ewan, Zane, and Ganix—three half-brothers take sibling rivalry to new lengths as they race each other across their homeland. Magic isn’t the only legacy Mr. Ian Johns wants for his bickering sons. The Postmaster hoped the boys would bond during a family trip, but they twist his vacation plans into a race. Ewan, Zane, and Ganix soon find themselves far from home, facing choices that are far from easy. Three routes stretch from coast to coast. The rules: each brother—and his two companions—must check in at post offices along their route. At these waypoints, they stamp in with their personal seal and report their progress by postcard.Zane follows his nose into the sweet-smelling town of Sugar Hill. He can’t wait to get in on their annual games ... until he finds out what he has to wear. He, Jovan, and Bree are nowhere near their next waypoint, but the Old Man of the Mountain knows a shortcut.Welcome to Liberty: Big cities and hill-country outposts thrive on busy byways, but people are scarce in the Wilds, where mythical creatures are alive and well. Folks commonly use lanterns to light their homes, and peace is kept by rangers on horseback. In the Byways books, readers will encounter dragons, griffins, river monsters, and rogue magicians.Magic is a rare trait that runs in families. Some magical gifts are quite useful; others are downright quirky. Like the talent inherited by members of the Johns family. They’re Changers who can take the form of an animal. Not that magic will make winning the race any easier for Ewan, Zane, and Ganix.Educational Twist: Each of the Byways books is tied to one of the fifty states and borrows from its history and geography—icons, mottos, landmarks, people, places, and famous firsts. They’re hidden throughout the story, turning the series into one long game of hide-and-seek. At the end of each Byways book, there’s a master list that covers everything from the state tree to the state insect. Nicknames, sports teams, state heroes, and national parks also find their way into the story. States are covered in order of ratification. Through the Notches takes its cues from “The Granite State,” New Hampshire.Excerpt:Zane pulled back the curling edge of a faded poster tacked to an old birch. WARNING! For your own safety, stay on the roads.The order was signed by Ranger Wilton Londonderry. But in sloppy painted letters, someone had added extra warnings.“Beware the Red Menace,” read Jovan.Zane’s eyes were shining with excitement as he read the last line. “Phantoms in the Forest!”Chart your course to CJMilbrandt.com, where readers can stamp into the Waypoint Log and take part in a very special Hometown Challenge.
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