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Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History's Barest Family Hardcover – August 12, 1987

4.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the commercial success of You're Only Old Once, Random House offers a commemorative edition of another adult work of humor by the venerable children's book author. Originally published in 1939, this revisionist farce attempts to rectify the "shameful" story of "a big blond nude trotting around the town on a horse" and Peeping Tom, the "illicit snooper." The frothy, historical romp presents seven Lady Godivas (Ladies Godiva?) whose father, the Lord of Coventry, is thrown from a horse and killed. The noble daughters vow to postpone their marriages to the seven Peeping brothers until they discover "some new and worthy Horse Truth, of benefit to man." This gives Seuss the opportunity to contrive the origins of such wisdoms as, "Don't put the cart before the horse." Seuss's only prose work (according to promotional material) lacks the sparkle of his children's verse, his women aren't as interesting as the real Lady G.an 11th century maverick who sacrificed her modesty to force her husband to lower taxesand readers will wonder why the protagonists (who bear unsettling resemblances to children in later Seuss works) are unclothed. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House (August 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394562690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394562698
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By F. Orion Pozo on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"A beautiful story of love, honor and scientific achievement" is how Dr. Seuss, with tongue in cheek, describes this book. Touted as Dr. Seuss's first book for adults, The Seven Lady Godivas was originally published in 1939 and reissued in 1987. It tells the story of not one, but seven 11th Century Lady Godivas. They are sisters sworn not to marry their beaus, the seven Peeping brothers (yes, Tom is one of them) until each of them discover a scientific truth about horses. They were driven to this oath by the death of their father during an experiment using a horse as a means of transportation.
The history is confused, but the fun never stops. Dr. Seuss's full page drawings (in red, black and white) illustrate every other page. The end papers are a fanciful illustration of the Godiva family tree. The text, though wordier than his childrens books and not in rhyme, is thoroughly Dr. Seuss. He explains the seven sisters preference for nudity by saying they had brains and were not given to vanity. He goes on to say "they were simply themselves and chose not to disguise it." Although this is a great summation of nudist philosophy, it doesn't say much about his regard for women who choose to wear clothes. Instead of scientific truths we are treated by the author to fanciful origins for seven proverbs about horses as each sister discovers her "horse truth" and goes on to marry her boyfriend.
If you enjoy Dr. Seuss, you will find these drawings and this story delightful. Although described as an adult book, children will enjoy the story as well. Today's young folks may not be familiar with all seven of the horse proverbs that Dr. Seuss relates in a book that is over 60 years old, but it should not deter from their enjoyment of this amusing tale. The drawings are not detailed enough to offend even the youngest of readers.
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Format: Hardcover
Begin with seven Lady Godivas and seven Lord Peepings; add the need for each Godiva to come up with a "horse fable" before being able to wed the Peeping to whom she is betrothed and Theodore Geisel has another winner! Definitely for adults but not at all off-colored. Another must for true Dr. Suess collectors.
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Format: Hardcover
After Lord Godiva is killed when his horse throws him, his seven daughters swear an oath forsaking marriage to the Peeping brothers until they have each discovered a "truth" about horses. Each of the seven Ladies Godiva struggles to learn something from their equine companions, each eventually composing a now common horse proverb.

This book was written in 1939 as an "adult" book, presumably because Dr. Seuss's whimiscal drawings of the nude Godivas would have been considered too risque in that era. By today's standards, these drawings are quite tame, and the stories are actually quite delightful. Dr. Seuss's fanciful tales of the origins of these proverbs is entertaining and his illustrations are pure Seuss.
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Format: Hardcover
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Seven Lady Godivas by Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1939 (Re-Issued in 1987)
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The book recounts in prose the tale of not one, but seven Godiva sisters, none of whom ever wear clothing. The explanation for their nakedness, even when walking in snow, is that "they were simply themselves and chose not to disguise it." The story opens with the sisters' father, Lord Godiva, deciding to leave for the Battle of Hastings on horseback. This upsets the sisters, as horses are wild and untamed animals. Sure enough, before Lord Godiva even manages to leave the castle walls, he is flung from his horse and killed. As a tribute to their father's fate, the Godiva sisters agree to never marry—despite the fact that each is courting one of seven brothers named Peeping—until they can warn their countrymen of the dangers of horses. The book then follows the sisters as they set out on individual quests for "horse truths", which turn out to be well-known sayings involving horses.

What I Liked:

This book was hilarious. And adorable. It is Dr. Seuss's first adult novel, which is why I chose it for the blog tour for review. It's unique to all of his other books, which are generally for children. This book could definitely be read by a younger audience, but I see why it's an adult novel. Check out the cover, for starters!

The story follows the seven naked Godiva sisters, daughters of Lord Godiva, Earl of Coventry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is the true story about the Godiva family, and the seven sisters who are each far too intelligent to waste time worrying about frivolous things like doing their hair, makeup, or you know, clothes. When their father is killed by a horse, they take it upon themselves to discover seven Horse Truths, one from each sister, before any of them will ever know true love. What follows is a clever, funny and sometimes touching story that is a little different from your average Dr. Seuss book.

I had first heard about the Seven Lady Godivas at the end of last year, after a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for an exhibit on the work of Dr. Seuss. This past Friday on Dr. Seuss' birthday, I came across this link with more information about the book, so on a whim thought I'd check Amazon to see if they had a copy, and much to my surprise, they had a used copy at a reasonable price, so I picked it up.

I found the book a little hard to read, only because it's a prose story, but I kept trying to read it in rhyme, since it is a Dr. Seuss book after all. There's nothing challenging here, although I found the Horse Truths to be very clever, and the illustrations range so far into the absurd that the nudity doesn't really come across as anything more than silly.

A fun little addition for a fan of Dr. Seuss, but probably nothing a general reader would find appealing.
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