On Your Marks

On Your Marks : The Adventure Begins

3.96 (26 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


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.

Book #1 in the Byways series introduces the Johns family and sees the brothers to the starting line. Ewan is dependable but shy. Zane has a rebel's reputation and a lone friend. Ganix has a gift for getting into mischief and enough luck to get back out of it. All three boys have inherited their father's magic and are Changers with an animal form. But they'll need more than a magical quirk to reach the finish line. A coming-of-age story times three with an educational twist. The storyline includes a states-based geography quest.

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. On Your Marks takes its cues from "The First State," Delaware.


Laurel jumped when loud growling came from the front hall. Hooves clattered, and a howl filled the house with its high, eerie note. "There they go again," she said.

"What now?" Ian hurried out of the kitchen. He slowed to step over the shattered pieces of a glass candle stand. "Boys? What's the meaning of ...!"

He was interrupted when a full-grown elk minced past with a young raccoon dangling from his antlers.

"Not in the house!" Ian started after them, but a snarling wolf zoomed between his legs, tripping him.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 50 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 6mm | 263g
  • English
  • Library ed.
  • 1631230077
  • 9781631230073

Review quote

2016 Moonbeam Children's Book Award, "Best Book Series - Chapter Books"
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Rating details

26 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 35% (9)
4 35% (9)
3 23% (6)
2 8% (2)
1 0% (0)
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