book cover Alphabet Wings
by Ilana Kresner

Picture book | 32 pp | Years 24

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[ Overview | Author profile | Useful websites | Focus questions ]


Alphabet Wings is an alphabet book based on cities across the world. Each page focuses on a city whose name begins with a letter of the alphabet. The reader is invited to put on a pair of imaginary wings to help them travel around the world to visit the cities, starting the journey in Amsterdam and ending in Zurich. The text briefly identifies the country and a few distinguishing features such as landmarks, events or products for which the city is well-known.

A map of the world on the endpapers identifies the places visited in the book, marking them with the appropriate letter of the alphabet. The brief text is supported by simple collage artwork. The use of colour and shape effectively represent each city and its special features, as well as adding further details for the attentive viewer to interpret.

The story is written from an imaginative point of view that invites the reader to experience each city by travelling on the alphabet wings. The simple narrative is made more challenging with the inclusion of place names and events, which may require younger readers to have the book read aloud to them. The text and illustrations are informative with the intent of expanding the reader's appreciation of the cultural diversity of our world.

Author profile

Ilana Kresner lives in Sydney with her husband Jeremy and son Joshua. She loves to travel and has captured some of her experiences in Alphabet Wings. Ilana has worked in museums in Australia and the United States of America and, as well as writing, she works as an educator running programs for students and teachers on Sydney Harbour.

You can find out more about Ilana, her current work and her book on the Alphabet Wings website (

Useful websites

Focus questions

Before reading the book

  • Examine the front cover. What do you think each illustration represents? From the clues provided, what do you think this book may be about? What do you think the purpose of the alphabet wings will be?
  • What further information does the blurb on the back cover provide to give further clues about the type of book that this is?
  • Read the biography about the author on the back cover. What personal experiences of the author would help her write this type of book?
  • Predict what you think the letters of the alphabet will represent?

During and after reading the book

  • Most alphabet books start each section with a word that represents the letter being described. How has the author varied this technique to make the text more interesting and informative?
  • What buildings or landmarks can you recall from the illustrations in the book? Can you name the cities or countries in which they are found?
  • In what ways do the text and illustrations provide information about different cultures? Provide examples.
  • What parts of the book did you recognise? What personal experiences or knowledge can you share to explain why some parts of the book were familiar (for example, Sydney Harbour Bridge, a red double-decker bus)?

© Curriculum Corporation 2006