FINCHOSAURUS follows the adventures of Atticus Finch Martin, otherwise known as Finch. Finch’s dream is to uncover a dinosaur fossil and name a new species after himself—until he digs up a note in the fifth-grade class garden with the word HELP on it. He is determined to come to the aid of the mystery note-writer. But when the quest turns out to be harder than expected, Finch risks losing two things that he really wants—his best friend Noah, and a field trip to Dinosaur State Park.
Praise for FINCHOSAURUS
“…If it’s anything like the last (In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog), it’s worth discovering.” ―Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal
“An amusing, empowering tale that should appeal especially to middle schoolers with abundant energy.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Gail’s Previous Middle Grade Novels
“A solid middle-grade choice—no waffling necessary.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The book captures the pains and pleasures of being both a twin and a fourth-grader.” —Booklist
WHAT’S BUGGING BAILEY BLECKER?
“Andrew Clements fans will enjoy this school story, too.” —Horn Book
“Bailey is emotionally authentic, with an individualistic voice and a strong streak of stubbornness, of which she is particularly proud.” —Publishers Weekly
“Purposeful in a lighthearted way but guaranteed to make your head—scalp and brain—itch!” —Kirkus Reviews
IN MEMORY OF GORFMAN T. FROG
“Middle-graders will celebrate as Josh learns to use his personal “pause” button to stop talking long enough to keep out of trouble. Obvious appeal, particularly to fans of Andrew Clements’s work.” —Kirkus Reviews
I want to first begin with the usual. I received a copy to review for this blog tour by the publisher via Jean Book Nerd Tours. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Finchosaurus is a cute book about a fifth-grade boy who just might be ADHD and has a serious case of dino love. Atticus Finch Martin, named after some book character (a personal favorite book of mine, to be honest)his librarian mom loves, is obsessed with dinosaurs. He’s so obsessed that he may be known as the kid who digs a lot and isn’t always focused enough for anything other than paleontology. When he finds a note, he puts his science-loving mind to work and begins a crusade to help the mystery note writer.
This book actually resonated with me. Though I never had to deal with focus issues in an ADHD sense, as a child I was enthralled with mystery (still am) and being stuck in the workings of my own mind (still am again). I understood Finch’s need to help and solve something, his need to be recognized outside of just the kid who can’t focus, and being a person with a passion that possibly took over every day (for me it is writing and it still does).
So, for my inner child, I could relate to the protagonist. I also learned something while reading this book. I saw how the parents struggled and how Finch struggled. How both parties just wanted some understanding, but got into a mess of miscommunication. As a mother to a child with ADHD, this book gave me a small glimpse of what it might be like for Bug. Reading this book reminded me that I need to be patient and maybe look at the world through Bug’s eyes. That maybe there really is something on the other side.
I should note that the terms ADHD or ADD aren’t present in the book. Finch’s fidgety ways and how he interacts isn’t diagnosed and nor is it a big deal in the book. This isn’t about a boy struggling to focus. This is a boy utilizing his gifts into doing something amazing for others while still being himself. I don’t know if Finch is a child with ADHD, but he acts similar to Bug and because of that, I assume he is. That said, this book doesn’t label the children, but instead gives an open view on how the children interact in the world.
My Bug is of the age that he knows he is just a bit more than his desk neighbor. I don’t want him feeling that he is a burden or unable to do the right thing because he has ADHD. I want him to be like Finch, a child with personal struggles but still true to himself and wanting to be more than what everyone sees him as. For that, Finch is a great role model for all children and I can’t wait to give Bug a chance at reading Finchosaurus.
Final Rating: 4/5
Gail Donovan is the author of the middle-grade novels The Waffler, What’s Bugging Bailey Blecker?, and In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog, which was named a New York Public Library Best Books for Children. She is also an author for the Rainbow Fish & Friends picture book series based on the bestselling books of Marcus Pfister. Donovan, who was born and raised in Connecticut, lives in Maine with her husband and two daughters, where, in addition to writing children’s books, she is a library assistant at the Portland Public Library.