Professor Winsnicker's Book of Proper Etiquette for Well-mannered Sycophants
by As Kept by Clover Ernest, Recovered by Obert Skye
Review by Paul Haggerty
Shadow Mountain Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781590387160
Date: April 2007 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The land of Foo is located just around the corner from reality. It's a land of nits, cogs, palehi, and the color plud. Most important of all are the Sycophants, small sprite-like beings who comfort and care for their burns, people that sometimes slip through the curtains between Foo and reality. Caring for a burn is a very important job, and young sycophants need good solid training to prepare for it. Thus bringing us to Professor Winsnicker's Book of Proper Etiquette for Well-Mannered Sycophants. Part textbook and part diary, this book belonged to Clover Ernest, a young Sycophant going through that awkward adolescent phase we all wish we could forget.
Clover Ernest is the foot-tall pixie-like sidekick to Leven Thumps in the Leven Thumps series by Obert Skye, book three of which will be coming out later this year.
Professor Winsnicker's Book of Proper Etiquette for Well-Mannered Sycophants tells of the school days of young Clover and how he and his fellow sycophants were trained to behave. Even from the beginning Clover was a bit different. Not exactly rebellious, but one that tended to ask questions. Perhaps this is why he was chosen for the most crucial task of watching over young Leven.
The book is separated into a dozen lessons, each of which teaches the young sycophant some aspect of life crucial to their survival and happiness: grooming, staying invisible, what things not to touch, and, of course, where and when to bite your burn (which knocks them out and gives the sycophant some much needed peace and quiet).
At the end of each chapter, Professor Winsnicker leaves several blank pages so that the student can write down how great the lesson was and how great the teacher is. Clover, on the other hand, uses it as sort of a diary to tell us of what's happening around him throughout the school year and the changes that are happening to him as he matures. The last pages in the book stretch out over longer periods of time and give hints as to what is happening in Foo, thus setting up the back story for the series.
Having not read the actual novels (something I intend to correct), I'm probably not getting as much from the book as I could, but the material is quite humorous even as a stand alone. In fact just scanning the first chapter was what convinced me to take the book on for review. If you've read the Leven Thumps books, this will be an excellent accessory. And if you haven't, then it just might whet your appetite.