Books by Dorothy Hoobler

Released: April 3, 2009

"The egregious misdeeds and their scientific detection are extraordinarily absorbing; the stolen painting belongs in another book."
Capacious study of some nefarious Parisians during the years before World War I, incongruously framed by the tale of Mona Lisa's famed disappearance in 1911. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2007

Seikei, a young samurai, isn't thrilled to return to Osaka, the home of his merchant-class birth family that he has chosen to forget. However, Seikei has no choice but to accompany his adoptive father, the wise Judge Ooka, a familiar character from other Hoobler samurai mysteries, who is Osaka-bound on business for the shogun. Once in town, Seikei returns to his family's teashop and is reunited with his brother and sister. To celebrate, the siblings attend a traditional Japanese puppet theatre, where Seikei quickly gets tangled in a murder mystery, which he must solve to protect his family and prove himself to Judge Ooka. As Seikei unpacks the mystery, the city's negative attitude toward samurai challenges him to reexamine his choices and to define himself beyond his title. Seikei eventually solves the gruesome theatre murders, but only after several unsuspected twists and turns featuring colorful glimpses into 18th-century Japan. A brief concluding authors' note provides factual background for the mystery. Unpredictable and culturally rich. (Historical fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: May 22, 2006

"Only the newest arrivals to Shelley-land will discover any novelty here."
Better known as children's authors (In Darkness, Death, 2004, etc.), the Hooblers address the adult market with a biography of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley based on a very shaky premise. Read full book review >
IN DARKNESS, DEATH by Dorothy Hoobler
Released: March 1, 2004

Adventure (and honor) in the land of ancient Japan—in the world of ninjas and the Shogun—will intrigue young readers who will find themselves fascinated with the details. The Hooblers first introduced Judge Ooka to readers in The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (1999) and The Demon in the Teahouse (2001). The judge lived during the eighth Shogun of the Tokugawa family, who ruled Japan in the early 1700s. Traditional tales have established Judge Ooka as the Sherlock Holmes of Japan. This tale solidifies that reputation as the judge and his fictional foster son, Seikei, seek to solve the murder of a prominent lord. From the beginning, the two knew that a ninja had committed the murder, but the Shogun requested Ooka to find the person who ordered the assassination. To solve the mystery, the two travel the country to the Etchu Province and obtain permission to enter onto Mount Miwa. There Seikei confronts the answer and the danger of their quest. Honor and respect play a large part in the actions of all the characters in this first-rate mystery. Well-plotted and fast-paced—a great read. (author's note) (Fiction. 10-13)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

"Those who came to the United States to settle, the immigrants, usually heard or read about America before they came." Such revelations and many instances of careless writing mar a work that may still be a useful resource for students writing reports. Since, as the authors note, we are all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, the volume covers much ground, from the first immigrants 20,000 years ago to ongoing immigration today. Though trials and tribulations are not overlooked, the booster spirit of the volume emphasizes the courage, strength, and daring of the immigrants as they struggled to survive in a new land. The land of opportunity and the melting pot are themes mentioned repeatedly and uncritically in this sales pitch for the American dream. No bibliography is included, and the list of works for further reading is modest. (index, credits) (Nonfiction. 8+)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

The authors of Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (1999) return to the Japan of nearly 300 years ago for another whodunit solidly clad in accurate historical and cultural detail. Barely has young Seikei, newly adopted son of Edo's chief magistrate Judge Ooka, begun his samurai training when he's called upon to help the Judge investigate a rash of fires and murders. That investigation takes Seikei into Yoshiwara, the "Floating World" district of geishas and tea houses where, thanks to sharp eyes, careful questions, and a few well-timed revelations, he tracks down the culprit—though not before being tricked, framed, threatened with torture, drugged, and, in a rousing climax, nearly burned to death, while battling the deranged wife of a samurai who had killed himself for love of a geisha. The expertly unraveled mystery, as well as the vivid, exotic setting and fast-moving plot, will delight fans of Lensey Namioka's historical thrillers. According to the afterword, Judge Ooka was a real, and renowned, detective. (Fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

This slim collection of actual writings of American girls from colonial times to the mid-20th century contains some real gems that are sure to inspire readers to learn more about history. Their first insight will be that girls who lived long ago weren't really that different from their modern counterparts. They played games and played jokes on one another, were interested in boys, knew that their teachers and parents didn't understand them, were picked on by big brothers and sisters, and worried about what the future held for them. Some of the entries are funny, some serious, but all are informative and entertaining, augmented by the co- authors' introductory notes for every entry and black-and-white photographs of the spirited and spunky girls who wrote such wonderful descriptions of their lives. (Nonfiction. 10-12) Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1996

This entry in the Hooblers' American Family Album series (The Jewish American Family Album, 1995, etc.) begins with an introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, who notes, ``where there are Cubans, there will be much warmth, life and amazing energy.'' A collection of oral histories and memoirs grouped by topic offer firsthand accounts of ``The Old Country,'' ``Coming to the United States,'' ``Ports of Entry,'' ``A New Life,'' ``Putting Down Roots,'' and ``Part of the United States.'' Readers will learn about the quincea§era, the celebration of a young woman's 15th birthday, how immigration to the US broke down the extended Cuban family, once the strongest force in that society, and how Desi Arnaz became the first famous Cuban American. The black-and-white photographs in the album reflect the various moods of these memoirs and manifest the Cuban-American story. Insets on celebrities such as Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan add interest, as does a recipe for black beans, the staple of Cuban cooking. The grouping of memoirs around general topics leads to some natural disjointedness, but overall this is a good summation of the successful assimilation of Cubans into—and their contributions to- -American culture. (chronology, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

An attractive and extremely useful entry by the Hooblers (The Chinese American Family Album, 1994, etc.) in the American Family Album series, this documentary history covers the mid-17th century to the present. The authors combine short essays with over 130 brief excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and interviews, accompanied by more than 175 black-and-white photographs (most quite small, some blurry with age). Arranged topically (e.g., ``Leaving Home,'' ``New Arrivals,'' ``Pioneers in the West,'' etc.) rather than strictly chronologically, the volume's many voices tell of the persecutions that motivated waves of immigration, the hardships of the journey, and the struggles and successes of life in America. This is for a somewhat younger audience than Milton Meltzer's The Jewish Americans: A History in Their Own Words (1982), with Holocaust testimonies that are not as harrowing as those he cites; Meltzer's provides longer quotations from fewer sources (including about a dozen of those found here) and lacks illustration. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9+) Read full book review >
Released: April 28, 1994

A sympathetic depiction of the trials of Chinese immigrants in America, land of the ``Gold Mountain.'' Quoting numerous people at length, the Hooblers illustrate the desperate conditions that drove many Chinese to respond to the blandishments of labor contractors. Other first-hand accounts illustrate the hard work, low pay, and discrimination they endured here and show how some prospered by sticking together in associations. Particularly poignant are stories illustrating how younger generations shucked off thousand-year-old traditions in the attempt to become more ``American'' while their parents were torn between traditional loyalties and pressure to adopt American ways. A final chapter portrays Chinese-Americans assuming an equal place in society since WW II while new immigrants still face milder versions of the same old problems. The many well- captioned archival illustrations and boxed articles featuring individual accomplishments add still more life and color to a particularly insightful model of modern documentary history. Timeline; extensive bibliography; endnotes; index. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
Released: April 3, 1992

In the ``Fact or Fiction Files'' series, fascinating information about mysterious ancient civilizations, in a clumsy format but otherwise well presented and engagingly written. In the ``fact'' section, the authors describe archaeological evidence of Stonehenge, the Nazca lines and serpent mounds of ancient America, Atlantis, the Minoans, and the Easter Islanders. At the end of each brief chapter, readers must turn to a corresponding chapter in the flip-flop ``fiction'' section to find legendary, scientific, and scholarly interpretations. Still, though the ``back and forth'' layout is unnecessarily awkward, the natural attractiveness of the subject and the involving style and syntax may provide enough motivation for readers to plow on through. Bibliography; b&w photos and index not seen. (Nonfiction. 10-13) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

A character study of this century's most famous political prisoner. Beginning with Mandela's youth (his middle name, Rolihlahla, means ``stirring up trouble'') and early legal career, the authors show how the South African government's consistent brutality forced him to work with groups that advocated violence, an association that led to his conviction for treason. Prison weakened neither his spirit nor his reputation; since Mandela's release in 1990, he has been working to quell black-against-black warfare in South Africa, to keep the new generation of radicals under control until the ANC's goals can be realized. This account can be read as a follow-up to the authors' Nelson and Winnie Mandela (1987); there is less detail here about history and social conditions but more analysis of past and recent (through mid-1991) events. Winnie Mandela doesn't come off well, especially in light of her involvement in the death of a supposed police informer. Source notes; bibliography; b&w photos & index not seen. (Biography. YA) Read full book review >
SHOWA: The Age of Hirohito by Dorothy Hoobler
Released: Oct. 9, 1990

Set in the context of Japan's extraordinary 20th-century history, the life of the emperor (1901-89) who, on his succession in 1926, hopefully chose the name "Showa" ("Enlightened Peace") for his reign. Since Japan had been a constitutional monarchy since 1889, Hirohito's role as figurehead was never in doubt; as the reigning descendant of the Shinto gods, he was also revered as a god. An intelligent young man whose greatest interest was marine biology (he published papers and was a member of the British Royal Society), he welcomed opportunities to escape sequestration and learn about the world; after the occupation, however, he reverted to the reclusive life dictated by custom. His part during WW II remains an enigma: he opposed the events that led to it, yet lacked the power and/or will to interfere with its course until the end, when he decisively counseled bowing to the Allies' overwhelming force. The Hooblers' account is clear and sympathetic, though hampered by lack of available information to give their portrait depth. The picture of Japanese politics and culture is fine as far as it goes, focusing in the prewar years on the military—as it responded to population pressures, the need for raw materials, and its own heroic tradition by rampaging out of civilian control—and, in the postwar era, on Japan's economic and technological explosion. The reasons for the mind-boggling contrast between these two periods are not really addressed, though perceptive readers may conclude that the rage to preserve honor that fueled kamikaze raids has found a more constructive outlet. Thoroughly worthwhile. Bibliography; index; illus. with 32 b&w photos. Read full book review >