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Audubon Society's Butterflies for Beginners VHS and Butterfly Gardening VHS Review by Melanie Bunnett

PO Box 807
New Hudson, MI 48165-0807

If you enjoy butterflies, are curious about butterflies, or want to teach your children about butterflies, this set of two VHS tapes will certainly have something to offer you. I believe that every aspect of butterfly life is addressed in some manner in this set.

The tapes are beautifully photographed, gently narrated, and underscored with a slow, melodic guitar melody playing in the background. The material covered is thorough and addressed in a way that should provide something of interest to both novice butterfly hobbyists and more experienced butterfly lovers.

The first tape, Butterflies for Beginners, is just that--a tape that addresses this subject in a manner that would be meaningful to anyone who wants to learn about butterflies. The video is an hour long and covers topics such as Butterfly Basics and Biology, Raising Butterflies from Caterpillars, and More about Butterflies.

Also included is a "gallery" featuring 26 various common North American butterflies in more detail. This gallery showcases these butterflies in an order that will make sense to anyone--first by size and then by family. Each species of butterfly highlighted includes live footage and informative narration describing habitat, features, and behaviors. Also included are range maps showing each butterfly's flight season.

The second video, Butterfly Gardening, is 92 minutes and addresses a different aspect of butterfly watching: attracting the butterflies. Included in this tape are 25 of the most popular and easy-to-find butterfly attracting plants. More than 60 North American butterflies are showcased, providing information on identification, habitat, and favorite plants. While the first tape included a segment on Raising Butterflies from Caterpillars, this video includes a segment Raising Butterflies from Eggs, a perfect complement.

This set is interesting and informative and would be a valuable addition to any unit study on butterflies. Priced at $39.95, this could be a worthwhile investment for your homeschool reference library. However, because it is geared more toward adults and is slower moving, it is likely to lose the attention of younger audience members. I would recommend this tape for middle school students through adults. In addition, because of the gentle pace, the videos are much more interesting when viewed in shorter segments, rather than watched through to their conclusion in one sitting.

Product review by Melanie Bunnett, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2006