Troll and the Oliver


  • Troll and the Oliver
  • written and illustrated by Adam Stower
  • published by Templar Books (Candlewick Press) (2015)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Just reading the title should clue you in that this is a twist on the standard “monster vs boy” tale. Every day, Troll goes out and tries to catch and eat an Oliver. But Olivers are pretty sneaky and – as it turns out – exceedingly hard to catch.

The cat and mouse game, as it were, continues for some time. And the Oliver, though seemingly quite innocent, is all too eager to tease Troll and literally sing about his failures right to his face.

When Troll finally gives up, the Oliver immediately notices his absence. And just when life returns to “normal” (cue the clickbait headline writers)…you’ll never guess what happens next!

Photo Aug 26, 10 00 37 PM

Troll and the Oliver is really a cute book and a clever twist on a familiar theme. My kids really enjoyed the Oliver’s sneakiness and antics (especially when he’s escaping in nothing but his undies).

It also didn’t hurt that I’m not too ashamed to sing his taunting songs while reading aloud. Hey, there are musical notes surrounding his word balloons. What am I supposed to do? Pretend they’re not there??

As I said, the book ends with a wonderful twist that will delight young readers. And do be sure to read the Author’s Note on the final page. It really is part of the story.

I also have to give kudos to the publisher for including a recipe for Troll Cupcakes (along with decorating ideas) on the inside back cover. It’s always a pleasure to see authors and publishers take advantage of that real estate, which is so often neglected.

Adam Stower’s art here is adorable. I’d love to see a whole series of these. In fact, this title came out 2013 in the UK (the U.S. edition just came out), and there is indeed a sequel that just released in the UK. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait two years to see it. We’re very much looking forward to it.

Photo Aug 26, 10 02 50 PM

(Thanks to Candlewick Press, who provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.