Children’s book evokes wonder of magical Earth

A Tale of Two Planets, by Mary Trudeau

Review by Alivia Vanin

“Leaves are like vitamin pills for plants – carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and lots of other things with really really big names. It doesn’t matter what they are called . . . we call them magic.”

Imagine a world unlike ours. A world where the residents need to fill up their oceans by hand. The people spend hours upon hours after a storm carrying buckets from shore to shore. This is done to ensure that their oceans do not dry out. Everyone must gather together and work as one to keep their planet running. Without the residents of this planet, it would crumble. Their planet is not self-sufficient. Their world is entirely man-made. Living a difficult life like that causes them to find solace in the place of their dreams, a faraway world completely different than their own. This place has become the mystical subject of their nightly stories. This magical place is nowhere other than a beautiful place called Earth.

This is the reality of the Wooshidooz living on the planet Retha.

The Wooshidooz admire Earth in a way most humans do not. They see how incredible it is that bees carry pollen from plant to plant. On the planet Reatha, the citizens are responsible for populating all forms of vegetation themselves. They work countless hours and still there is always more work to be done.

Old Ottawa East’s Dr. Mary Trudeau is the creator of this fictional planet. Retha is the main setting of her book, A Tale of Two Planets. Published in May 2023, this is the first book written by Trudeau. With the help of Friesen Press Books, she was able to turn her 10-year project into a paperback.

Aside from writing this children’s book, Dr. Mary Trudeau is an incredibly accomplished woman, with a plethora of degrees and a long career working in hydraulics and civil engineering. Trudeau has also taught at Carleton University and has been teaching the winter term at the University of Ottawa for a couple years.

Trudeau has a passion for our planet. She shared that she wrote letters to former prime minister Paul Martin regarding climate change to seek government recognition on this issue. Mary Trudeau wanted to share her admiration for Earth in a way not seen before.

“It’s not a warning about Earth,” she said. Her story was meant to inspire its readers. “We need to be inspired to get out of our environmental crisis, not horrified.”

With the help of illustrations from artist Nicholas Donovan Mueller, A Tale of Two Planets changes the way its readers think of Earth. Unlike many tales about our planet, this story does not use facts to scare people into caring. Instead, Trudeau takes our world’s scientific truth and reminds not only children but also adults how incredible our planet truly is. It is important to appreciate what we have. Not because of climate change and our impending doom but because Earth is in fact magical.

Trudeau explained why she chose to write her book for children and not adults: “Children don’t need to be taught wonder; they have wonder.”

The story shows a unique take on a current issue that affects us all. Trudeau’s creative efforts tackle the problem of climate change in an encouraging manner. She wants people to be just as amazed as she is by the planet we all call home.

A Tale of Two Planets can be found at independent bookstores Octopus Books at 116 Third Avenue in the Glebe, Perfect Books at 258 Elgin Street and Singing Pebble Books at  206 Main Street.

The paperback and hardcover editions can also be found online at the Friesenpress Bookstore and on Amazon. An e-book copy can be purchased at these online stores as well.


Alivia Vanin is a Carleton student in the English and Creative Writing program.

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