This is the sequel to Shadow Forest. Actually, I got The Runaway Troll first, and I liked it so much that I bought Shadow Forest, and went back to the beginning of the story, which helped me to understand it better – for example why the boy’s Uncle still behaves like a dog if you click your fingers.
As background, you need to know that in Shadow Forest the boy had lived with a family of trolls, who had looked after him. The family shared one eye-ball between father, mother and a boy troll, who is the friend of the human boy. The troll boy has nasty mother and nice father. Unfortunately the boy troll loses the family’s eye, and so it was decided that he should be sent to a nasty troll called the Betterer and so he ran away.
The story gets more complicated. The boy troll goes and hides in the human boy’s cupboard, and the Betterer thinks that this is a good chance to catch a human boy. Along the way the troll boy’s father is killed by the Betterer, but eventually the human boy’s sister saves them and the evil Betterer dies. And so everyone is happy.
I enjoyed reading this very much. Like Shadow Forest, the boy has lots of frightening problems to face, but it all works out well in the end. If you are reading The Runaway Troll on your own, I think it will be best for children aged 9-10, but younger children of primary age could have it read to them.
Haig, Matt (2009) The Runaway Troll
Corgi, The Bodley Head, Random House, London