Book review: The Red Dread by Tom Morgan Jones.

February 1st is not only the day of publication for The Red Dread but it is also World Read Aloud Day and this book couldn’t be more fitting for the occasion.


The Red Dread, a bold, intriguing, slightly fearsome title but this read is fun and lively.  Filled with quirky illustrations and measured suspense this is a brilliant picture book for  younger readers. The bright front cover and animal friends surrounding the title had Little One, my 3 year old, and I transfixed and we couldn’t wait to share the book together.

Tom Morgan Jones is an award winning illustrator and The Red Dread is his first picture book which he has written and illustrated.

The Red Dread

Set at night time, readers are instantly demanded to listen as Worm declares to Shrew that he can hear the “…Red Dread thumping about…” Where is this unseen monster that can be heard? There is no shying away from the fact that Shrew and Worm are scared!


The book is told entirely in dialogue and with its use of speech bubbles and varied page layout it trains the eye to look carefully at the illustrations, connecting the dialogue and expressive illustrations so well. As the plot unravels it seems The Red Dread is causing all sorts of problems and it is clear to see that the group of animals are becoming increasingly scared.

From missing food to animals disappearing, this night really couldn’t get any worse and the thumping sound becomes more and more prevalent!


The thumping sound is a big a clue to what the Red Dread could be and is a brilliant example of onomatopoeic prowess making this such a fantastic read aloud. Little One found this page particularly memorable so I can only imagine how a group of children would receive this. What follows is more pages of Shrew and this thumping sound …what could it be?

It’s not until Shrew trips over that it begins to make sense.

With his animal friends peering from behind trees in their vibrant colours set against the dark scene, a page I absolutely love, readers discover what the Red Dread is.


It is Shrew and his beating heart.

This book is brilliant! Little One and I have had such fun reading this together. It is a read with a core theme of fear but Tom Morgan Jones has done an astounding job at producing a read that has such a theme but is in keeping with its target audience. With its eye popping, sketchy feeling illustrations, this book oozes energy.

We recommend that you hunt this book down and relish in its fun. This book is for sharing!

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke publishers for sending us this book.






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