あり いぬ うさぎ or Ari Inu Usagi is a primer for learning Hiragana, a syllabic script used in the Japanese writing system. The audience is Japanese school children.
Highsmith’s collaborator, Hiroko Sakomura, provided him with lists of possible words for each character. He explained, “The combination of the adjectives and animals made the book really fun to draw. It raised all sorts of possibilities. For example, instead of just drawing a crow, I had to draw a sad crow. Why is the crow so sad? Where is the panda going so quickly? Some of combinations were easier to draw than others. It took me a while to figure out how to draw a polite Tyrannosaurus rex. In addition to helping kids learn to read, I hope it gets them excited about the power of using words and pictures together to make stories.”
“I worked with Japanese type designers at Morisawa Bunken to get help with my kana lettering. I couldn’t have done it without their guidance. And I’m quite pleased with results. I think the lettering goes nicely with the drawings”, he said, “and I’m told it reads well!”
Ari Inu Usagi is the follow up to ABC, the Japanese edition of Apple Bear Cat, Highsmith’s latin alphabet book.