Tag Archives: famous father daughters

the tree house/artistic duos

7938740First 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

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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.

526-1489-image-1Ronald Tolman‘s artwork clearly influences the book. So does daughter Marije Tolman‘s. (I need to explore more of both, particularly the latter’s other picture books.)

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:


Rashida Jones, Quincy Jones

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.”







Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda (image credit: JaneFonda.com). In this photo, Jane delivers her father’s Academy Award in 1982. Jane’s quotes on life here.




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.



© Copyright 2005 Corbis Corporation

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.”




Bruce Dern and Laura Dern (image via movieplayer.it). In 1990, Laura said here: “For the last few years, Dad has been one of my closest friends.” (Also, I’m sad Enlightened was canceled.)




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.




Spike Lee may not be most famous for this, but he and wife Tonya Lewis Lee  wrote the fabulous picture book, Giant Steps to Change the World together.  (image via USA Today by Jennifer Altman.)




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.”



Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf (image via Smith College Libraries). Oh, Virginia and Leonard. Have you read the heart-breaking suicide note Virginia left him?


(And remember my previous post about a Virginia-inspired picture book?)


Couple Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel  make quirky films with little speaking and lots of movement like one of my favorites, L’iceberg. They call themselves a “burlesque duo.” (image via Filmtage.)


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.)”



Ray Eames and Charles Eames (image via Herman Miller). I daydream about their lounge chair to read in.


Christo & Jeanne-Claude At Home

Co-artists, Christo and Jeanne Claude (image via ChristoJeanneClaude.net). The Wrapped Trees is just one of the intriguing projects from the partnership.

Do you have a creative favorite father/daughter pair or romantic couple I missed? Do tell in the comments!

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