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City of Bees - reviews

Video Librarian - September/October 2006

Highly Recommended - Editor's Choice

Subtitled “A Children’s Guide to Bees,” this delightful program takes a kid-friendly look at the amazing world of the honeybee. Narrated by a beekeeper and several young children (sometimes in a Q&A format), and punctuated by songs and rhymes, City of Bees is a sublime film, bringing a sense of wonder to the intricate details of the insect’s life and featuring in-flight shots simulating the bee’s journey as it makes its rounds from flower to flower. Viewers will learn that each beehive is essentially one house with a very large family (with one mommy—the queen bee), the various purposes of the honeycomb (such as storage of honey, and birth chambers for young bees), and the fact that a bee visits as many as 1,000 or more flowers to collect a single batch of nectar to bring back to the hive, where other bees help process it to create honey. Kids and adults alike are sure to be charmed by City of Bees, which features DVD extras including a lesson plan and a photo gallery. Highly recommended. Editor’s Choice.

Educational Media Reviews Online - September 2006

Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Buzz Haughton, Shields Library - University of California - Davis

An adult with two young assistants provide the monologue through this visually captivating and illuminating DVD about the lives of bees. The roles played by each of the individuals in this insect society are explored: queens, drones (the males, whose sole purpose is to fertilize the queen and then die) and worker bees. The life of the bee “city” is explained through the seasons.

In a way it’s a shame that this DVD is geared toward young viewers, because this adult reviewer learned a great deal about bees from watching; I think most of us would. I especially liked the summary of bee products, notably for propolis, which I did not know functions as an antiseptic in this tightly organized society that could be easily decimated by infectious disease. But the vocabulary and diction of the speakers are definitely pitched toward elementary and possibly junior high school students. I would rate this DVD as highly recommended for that audience level and recommended for high school through adult viewers. 

School Library Journal - August 2006

Video Pick—City of Bees
Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA

DVD. color. 30 min. Prod. by Frejas Born Film and Sound. Dist. by Choices, Inc. 2006 release. ISBN 1-933724-02-1. $49.95.

K-Gr 6–Step into a hive and learn about the daily life of bees in this fascinating live-action film. Narrated by an adult male beekeeper, with occasional remarks by children, this is an up-close and personal look at bees. Viewers learn about the life cycle of the bee, the various jobs they do in the hive, and the differences between regular bees, drones, and queen bees. A year in the life of a hive is studied. The program presents information from a beekeeper's point of view rather than a child's, with occasional child-like aspects included, and this works out just fine. Vocabulary is often quite advanced. Intriguing facts about bees are coupled with amazing photography. The narrator has a slight accent but is easily understood. The DVD has a photo gallery of stills from the production, allows instructors to display subtitles, and offers lesson plans correlated to National Standards. A great way to supplement the science curriculum.


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