First published in the Netherlands, The Tree House is a wordless picture book by Marije Tolman & Ronald Tolman. They’re a father and daughter duo.
The story here is what you make of it. The illustrations are out of this world. Gorgeous and mesmerizing. A polar bear arrives at a tree house in the sea. Then a brown bear comes along. While they’re reading, water makes way for land and air and a ginormous flock of flamingoes shows up. The whole world looks pink. More animals follow. It’s like a grand and colorful wildlife huzzah. Until the two bears are left alone again. Content with the changing of the seasons.
“We were trying to search for a space, realistic feel, and freedom so that the story would speak for itself, so that readers could make their own stories. We didn’t want to force people to think a certain way.”
—Marije Tolman in this article
What I bring to the book, what strikes me as something true about it, is the relationship between the white and brown bears. They’re the constant. They have their big party, their community, but in the end they have each other. Still. And always, at least it seems to me. It makes me think of my marriage. Other relationships, whether romantic or familial or bonds of friends. Any one that sticks, that lasts, that sustains.
So here we have two partnerships. The bears in the book and the father and daughter who created it. Ronald, the etchings and Marije, the illustrations.
And this gets me thinking about other artistic partnerships. How some people pass on creativity to their kin. Some find someone to share it with.
So here are some creative duos that come to mind for me. It’s only a sampling of course, so do add more to the comments!
FATHER/DAUGHTER, like the duo behind The Tree House picture book:
Quincy Jones and Rashida Jones (image credit: Huffpost). Rashida on music here: ” I have a lot of reverence-slash-fear about music because obviously I have a living legend as my father. Music breaks my heart constantly.”
Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola (image credit: pure people). Filmmaker begets filmmaker. “My dad was always very charismatic and exciting and doing interesting things and having people over and blasting opera and cooking, and so I have good memories. We did not have a boring childhood,” says Sofia here.
Serge Gainsbourg and Charlotte Gainsbourg (image credit: last.fm). How cool are they? This Vanity Fair article and interview with Charlotte delves into her father and family’s life. I like this random quote from Serge: “I prefer ugliness to beauty, because ugliness endures.”
Erin Stead and Philip Stead co-created the Caldecott-winning picture book, A Sick Day For Amos McGee. (And they made this book together too!) Image from Nicole Haley Photography and her beautiful blog post on these two.
Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (image via Murder Ballad Monday). Waits, here: “I’m the prospector, she’s the cook. She says, ‘you bring it home, I’ll cook it up.’ I think we sharpen each other like knives.”
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash (image via eil.com). Nikki Miller-Rose reports here: “The well-known song “Ring of Fire” was co-written by June in 1963, and for many is synonymous with their early attraction to one another. But “Flesh and Blood,” a 1970 single featured in the Gregory Peck film I Walk the Line, is a lesser known (and very sweet) song Johnny Cash wrote about his love for June.”
(And remember my previous post about a Virginia-inspired picture book?)
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (image via Qualia Folk). “They… agreed that a life worth living should include plenty of food, the company of artists and writers, and a general refusal to do the things that did not please them…” and, from the same piece, this makes me smile: “They scattered love notes to one another around their house, signed DD and YD (Dear Dear and Your Dear.)”
Do you have a creative favorite father/daughter pair or romantic couple I missed? Do tell in the comments!