This past week my daughters have picked out two different bedtime books that have been interesting and informative. With both I have had to look at the spine label just to see where they are placed in the library. While both are picture books, they are both information books as well, full of facts about the topic they cover.
Redwoods by Jason Chin is a book about the famous redwood trees. At the book's beginning the boy in the story is sitting on a bench and sees a book with his picture on the cover. As he reads the book while on the subway the topics he reads about are occurring out the window or right next to him. He (and the reader) learn a great deal about redwood trees. My own children were amazed at their size and that a car could drive through the trunk of one as though it were a tunnel. The boy closes the book at story's end, when a girl comes along and sees a book with a girl's picture on the cover....so the book is a story with a little of a twist as well as informative.
Nanuk Flies Home by Christa Holtel and Astrid Vohwinkel is another informative picture book. Nanuk is a polar bear. He and his mother explore various places, which Nanuk finds very boring. He sees people for the first time and is rather interested in the food available in a store. However, he and his mother are shot with a tranquilizer and taken to polar bear jail. My girls and I found this funny, only to find out in the notes at the end that there really is a polar bear jail. Once in jail an older and wiser polar bear explains to Nanuk what is happening. Nanuk, who thinks flying would be exciting, gets his wish as he is taken by helicopter back home. Nanuk has some excitement and decides that he really does like his home after all. Polar bear facts as well as information about polar bears is included at book's end.
Both of these books have been bedtime hits. The picture book format seems to work well for my kids right now because they enjoy learning about "real" things, yet still need a story to go with the information.