January 12, 2020 • Cee • Comics
Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland • January 7, 2019 • Algonquin Young Readers

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Twelve-year-old Cindy has just dipped a toe into seventh-grade drama—with its complicated friendships, bullies, and cute boys—when she earns an internship as a cub reporter at a local newspaper in the early 1970s. A (rare) young female reporter takes Cindy under her wing, and Cindy soon learns not only how to write a lede, but also how to respectfully question authority, how to assert herself in a world run by men, and—as the Watergate scandal unfolds—how brave reporting and writing can topple a corrupt world leader. Searching for her own scoops, Cindy doesn’t always get it right, on paper or in real life. But whether she’s writing features about ghost hunters, falling off her bicycle and into her first crush, or navigating shifting friendships, Cindy grows wiser and more confident through every awkward and hilarious mistake.


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“When we watch Wild Kingdom on Sunday Nights at seven o’clock, my brothers see one thing…”

Middle School is a confusing time for kids trying to survive the wild kingdom, as Cindy—the main character of Cub—sees it as.

Here is Cindy, excelling extremely well in her English class and trying to keep her head down so she doesn’t attract the predators aka the mean girls aka the school bullies. She has high aspirations to become a writer, and that leads her to start working with Leslie Jacobs, a reporter for the local newspaper.

Cub has these snapshots into Cindy’s life—moments that impacted her from her first time trying to follow a board meeting, her first boyfriend, the growing distance between she and her best friend, and so on. Although these moments may be short, but they’re packed with so much information that moves the story along.

Cynthia L. Copeland transport readers into the 1970s by the way she draws the clothes and hairstyles, and how she draws these historical moments via the use of the newspapers. It’s an excellent way of framing the story to be relatable, but not too heavily focused on the historical side of what’s going in since it is about a girl who’s trying to find her voice in a United States that’s in turmoil.

I love that despite these things happening in the 1970s, kids and people in the 21st century will still be able to relate to it. At first, you wouldn’t think that people in the 21st century would not be able to relate to events happening in the 1970s like Vietnam War, Nixon’s presidency, and Earth Day? But events that happened parallel what’s been happening right now—the current presidency of 45 and climate change rearing its ugly head.

Other things I enjoyed are the way Copeland showed Cindy’s growth as a writer—with the way Leslie Jacobs made helpful comments—and the way that Cindy forged friendships (which was delightful to see because she had a group of friends).

Cub is about finding your voice and the changes that happen as you grow older.

Who should read Cub? Everybody. Readers who want to tap into a bit of ’70s history. Readers who’s read Shannon Hale’s graphic novels (Real Friends).

Should you read Cub? Sure.

Do you like historical graphic memoirs?


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