The choice between a friend and dinosaurs... Finchosaurus by Gail Donovan (Interview, Review & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop! You can check out the other stops on the tour here. I'm excited to be welcoming the author today for an interview! Check that, my review, and the giveaway out below...

By Gail Donovan
Children's/Middle Grade Chapter Book
Paperback & ebook, 192 Pages
October 23rd 2018 by Islandport Press


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.


"...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

“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

"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

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Author Interview

What inspired you to write FINCHOSAURUS?

All my fiction is inspired by the idea of a toddler screaming at the top of their lungs. I see my middle-grade characters as being not that far removed from the crying toddler. Like the toddler, they feel things passionately; unlike the toddler, they are learning not to cry and scream in public. But the deep feelings are still there, and they are the initial inspiration.

After that, I’m inspired by the idea of a particular character with a particular problem—somebody who needs their story told. Characters who are too much like me don’t inspire me, so Finch was created as a bouncing off the wall boy who got sent outside a lot. Outside, he loves to dig, because he wants to be a paleontologist with a dinosaur named after him.

From there, I knew he would dig up something that would set the story going. It turned out to be a note with a single word on it: Help. That idea really felt like a gift. Finch needed to know who wrote the note, and I did, too!

I’m really curious… how did Atticus Finch Martin get his name?

Different eras have different popular names. When my kids were in school there seemed to be a lot of boys named Ben and Zak, and a lot of girls named Emma. I set my books in the current time period, and I was hearing that Atticus was a popular name. That made sense to me, as people who had loved To Kill A Mockingbird had grown up and were having kids. I decided Atticus would be a good name for a character, especially since my character was going to have a book-loving, school librarian for a mom. So, when Atticus Finch Martin gets to kindergarten, he found there were 3 kids named Atticus! That’s why he starts going by Finch, “which he liked because a finch was a bird, and birds were related to dinosaurs.”

What is Finch’s favorite dinosaur and why?

Finchosaurus is Finch’s favorite dinosaur! It’s imaginary, yes—but it’s also the biggest dinosaur ever. The biggest. Dinosaur. Ever.

What does Finch like and dislike about fifth grade?

Finch is a high-spirited kid who finds school a spirit-dampening place to be. Also, 5th grade is a big disappointment because during the summer his K-5 school became a K-8 school. So instead of him and his friends being “king of the school” that year, now the 8th graders are. On the bright side, this is the year he’s been given a bouncy ball chair, which helps him get through the day a little more easily.

What do you love most about this story?

I love that the ending can still make me cry. The book is funny, but it is also heartfelt. When I re-read it, I still cry at the end.

My Review

FINCHOSAURUS is a fun, heartfelt chapter book. Boys will especially find Finch a fun character, but there is also plenty for girls to love, and of course fans of dinosaurs will fall in love with this character and his story. A delightful, inspiring read!

This was a really cute read. Finch was a fun character, full of energy and a love of dinosaurs. I enjoyed seeing how a slip of paper could change his focus and how it turned into what it did. The ending was especially sweet. I did feel Finch wasn't as old as his character is supposed to be. He felt more third or fourth grade level (I have a fifth grader now who also is full of energy and struggles to focus, so I could relate). Otherwise, this was a fun book to read.

In the end, was it what I wished for? A story that is perfect for dinosaur lovers. Finch is a likable character with a quest that easily inspires. Recommended for second through fifth graders.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Jean BookNerd Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

About the Author


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.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 10 Winners will receive a Copy of FINCHOSAURUS by Gail Donovan.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends November 5, 2018

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