The Runaway Troll by Matt Haig

The Runaway Troll

Written by Matt Haig
Part of the Shadow Forest Series

9+ readers   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

The filthy world of trolls is revealed in its full and gruesome glory in this hugely entertaining story about poor Troll-Son who, in addition to his other many woes, has the misfortune to share an eyeball which is almost always lost with his parents. Troll-Son is always in trouble so, when his parents get a visit from the Betterer, a nasty character who preys on parents anxieties about their badly behaved children and offers to improve them with a spell in Bettering Towers, they readily accept. Rather than risk going to the grim Towers, Troll-Son escapes into the forest and sets out to find his human friend Samuel Blink. A sequel to Shadow Forest, this is both wonderfully disgusting and absolutely irresistible.


The Runaway Troll by Matt Haig

Samuel's not allowed to enter Shadow Forest. But what's to stop the forest from coming to him? There's one thing every troll child dreads more than anything - and that's being sent to the Betterer. The Betterer is the most evil troll in Shadow Forest who loves to punish his fellow trolls for their grubby and stupid habits in lots of horrible ways. When one troll boy escapes the forest to be with his favourite human, Samuel Blink, the Betterer is not very happy. Until he realizes that the most useful thing to have in his Bettering Tower would be a real life human child. So he places his Bettering Branch and Gripgrass Juice in his pockets and sets out on a quest into the human world beyond the forest to kidnap Samuel and the troll friend he's been hiding in his wardrobe...

Browse inside this book


This story is about finding your place in the world, but also about accepting what you have. There is adventure, excitement and danger and trolls seem to be having a bit of a literary resurgence at the moment so this will probably be a popular choice for 8-10-year-olds who want a challenging read. School Librarian 20090701 Children with a taste for magic and fantasy will find both - and a dollop of humour - in this second tale of Samuel Blink ... this entertaining thriller oozes comedy and suspense in equal measure

... thoroughly engaging and readable Fast, fun and furious action with a cast of humorous characters and creatures. A runaway hit TBK It is so good to have a children's book, full of fun and adventure ... a well-judged adventure for young readers, told in a proper story-teller's voice. Hurrah! Carousel

About the Author

Matt Haig

Photo of Chris Mould and Matt Haig © Jonathan Ring

As well as being a number one bestselling writer for adults, Matt Haig has won the Blue Peter Book Award, the Smarties Book Prize and been shortlisted three times for the Carnegie Medal for his stories for children and young adults. The idea for the A Boy Called Christmas series came when his son asked what Father Christmas was like as a boy.

Matt Haig is an internationally acclaimed writer of adult and children’s novels, screenplays and journalism. His first children’s book Shadow Forest won the Nestle/Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and eight regional awards. His work has been translated into 29 languages. His 2013 adult novel The Humans has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK. Reasons to Stay Alive, both a powerful account of the illness that almost destroyed him and a joyous exploration of the things that make life worth living, rapidly gained a huge following, spending 41 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller list. He lives in Brighton with the writer Andrea Semple and their children Lucas and Pearl.

Matt Haig's writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Sydney Morning Herald. The Dead Fathers Club is his American debut but his second published novel following The Last Family in England (2004), a reworking of Henry IV, Part I from the point of view of a black Labrador named Prince.
Shadow Forest, his first book for children, was published in the UK in May 2007; and in the USA as Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest in June 2007.
His next book for "grown-ups will be The Possession of Mr Cave in May 2008, to be followed by a children's novel called The Runaway Troll.
He now lives in Leeds but grew up in Newark-on-Trent where he went to a school much like Philip's in The Dead Fathers Club.

Matt Haig winning blue peter awardOn 5 Mar 2009 Matt won the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award for Shadow Forest. When he won he said:

“To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was halfway through a book event at a school when suddenly I turned around and saw a Blue Peter camera crew burst in to hand me the award. I nearly hyperventilated! I was up against some very stiff competition so I couldn’t believe I’d won my category let alone the overall prize.”

Matt Haig on his teen novel, The Radleys:

"This is a story about growing up, first and foremost. About how we learn to come to terms with who we are, independent of the ideas our parents had for us. About how we decide our own identities. As well as what shapes those identities - who we choose to love, and hate, admire and fear. It is about how denying ourselves can sometimes be more dangerous than succumbing to tempation. This is the story I wanted to tell. I never set out to write a vampire story, but vampires were the obvious choice. After all, as family secrets go, you can't get much bigger than finding out you are actually a full-blown creature of the night. And hopefully it fits as a metaphor for teenage life. A life full of physical changes, forbidden cravings, and feelings of being an outsider. In that sense, we've probably all been vampires at some stage."

Find Matt Haig on instragram

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


448 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Matt Haig
More books by Matt Haig

Author's Facebook Latest


Corgi Childrens an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Publication date

5th August 2010




It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

We love Lovereading4kids because it promotes reading choices, new authors and a sense of community for children of all ages!

Rachel Bridgeman

It’s so easy to find the right book for your child. Such an easy-to-use, yet in-depth website. 100% reliable.

Pippa, Jack, Liam & Matthew Wils

It gives me a chance to read types of books that I would not normally try, and it motivates me to read every night to finish it!

Alice Horncastle, age 14

Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

I love Lovereading4kids because I get an opportunity to put my opinion forward and to try new books

Elosie Clarkson – age 11

I love Lovereading because I often never know what to read and this helps you find a good book. I have recommended this to many people.

Shannon-Louise Masters – age 15

I am so pleased to have signed my kids up as they are reading a much wider range of books and even choosing books out of their comfort zone.

Angela East

Lovereading 4 schools