Wait! We thought this series was about three brothers. Why does Book #2 only let us see what Ewan is up to?
After leaving Circle City, the three Johns brothers took different roads. They don’t travel together, so we’ll check in with each of them in turn. Ewan gets Book #2; Zane will have Book #3. Ganix is the star of Book #4, and we’re back with Ewan for Book #5. This rotation will continue for the duration of the series. You can easily tell which brother is featured in a story by checking the Byways header. Ewan’s books are marked by an elk. Zane’s have a wolf, and Ganix’s show a raccoon.
How long has Ewan been interested in art?
Ewan’s mother loved to draw, so artistry is a gift he received from her. However, his fascination with maps took hold when his father brought home a new bride from the High Kingdoms. Ewan was just a little guy then—six years old. Uncle Vanek used maps to show him his step-mother’s home across the sea. Christiana noticed Ewan’s budding talent and encouraged him. His first journal and set of paints were a gift from her.
Does Ewan have a plan to win this race?
He began with a plan. By choosing the northern route through Liberty, Ewan expected to take advantage of Liberty’s first continental railroad. But in Book #2, Aboard the Train, Ewan stumbles across two stowaways. In becoming Tamaqua’s and Juniata’s protector (and teammate), he triples his travel expenses. Ewan takes many odd jobs in order to raise money for the journey ahead.
Where can we find details about Pennsylvania hidden in the story?
Every Byways Book includes a game; state facts are hidden throughout the story. Book #2 takes its cues from the second state, which is nicknamed the Keystone State. Some of the easiest details to spot are character names. For example, Tamaqua is the name of a Pennsylvania town, and Juniata is both the name of a river and a county. State icons show up on nearly every page, like the state flower (mountain laurel), state tree (hemlock), state insect (firefly), and state dog (Great Dane). There are also references to covered bridges, Hershey’s abundance of chocolate, the famous “City of Brotherly Love,” and the Liberty Bell.
Watch for more Byways Q&A posts!
2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, “Best Book Series – Chapter Books”