John James Audubon ~ Tell the Story


This week’s post is in connection to your novel Okay For Now. Please choose one of the plates below from John James Audubon’s Birds of America and tell the story of the plate similar to how Gary Schmidt uses these plates

in each chapter. Look at what you feel is happening in the image and write a descriptive paragraph about it. Be creative and very descriptive. Notice the details!

Please do not borrow any ideas from another classmate!



  1. This plate is the Golden-eye Duck. To me personally I think this picture looks like a bird is falling and another bird is trying to grasp onto it by its claws. This plate shows a friend trying to help, but doesnt seem to help. He wants to grab him and save him, but can’t manage to hold them both. It seems very sad, because if you look at the backround it shows gray clouds like a thunder storm is coming through. Also their wings are out so that makes it look like their is strong winds, and thats why the other bird can’t grab the other bird. Also what looks like to be gray clouds, also seems to look like water. This plate shows that it is taking place outside on a very humid, and stormy day.

  2. I like the first one, Meadow lark. To me it shows a baby being protected by the one on the left. The one flying is going to get food. The one protecting the baby has it’s eye on something specific that it’s being careful of, like a hawk. I feel like the one bird is being so protective, that they’d take their own live for the little one. The bird on the right is calling to others to come help protect the baby. It looks like spring because all the flowers in the back are fully bloomed. The colors all, mix very nice. The colors to me make me feel peaceful and calm.

  3. The birds in the second picture both look scared and afraid to me. You can also tell that the air is thick and gloomy by the way the dark clouds are gathered in the backround. The bottom bird looks as if he wants to escape from the storm or leave before a heavy rain might fall on them. The top bird almost looks like he’s telling the other bird to leave or get back to the nest. Their faces also show that they might be in danger because they also both look shocked or frightend of the storm.

  4. I feel that the birds in the first photo are trapped on an island. Although the island is Paradise, the birds get sick and tired of each other to the point where they don’t even want to be in Paradise if the other bird is with them. You can see the bird on the left looking out as if they were desperate for someone to take them off of the island. The bird on the right looks like he is trying to fly away, but he knows that if he tries, he’ll fail and end up stuck on the island with the other bird again. That’s why the bird doesn’t look very determined, as if he knew that he wouldn’t be able to escape, but the bird is so stubbornly fed up with the other bird that he wants to just fly away, although he knows his fate.

    The birds in the second picture look like they are friends with each other, and were just having a fun time flying like birds do, and then they suddenly remember that they left something valuable back at home. They look like there is no way that they could possibly retrieve the valuable object, and they are panicking and they don’t know what to do in this situation. The dark clouds in the background suggest that a crisis has occurred, and it won’t be easy to get out of.

  5. I am going to reflect on the second one (Golden Eye). When I look at this painting I see many things happening with these birds. The first thing I see is that they could be fighting over something. The reason why is because the bird on the right looks like it kicked the bird on the left. Another thing that I see is that the two birds saw something and they are scared. The second one looks like it is alerting the one on the right. Another thing that I see is that these birds might be being chased by another bird. That is what I see when I look at this picture.

  6. The picture with the two birds on the nest is the one I like the best and the one I will be talking about. One of the birds is flying off and the other is looking at something really closely, probably food . It looks like the one that is flying off is trying to eat something.The lizard in this image is leaving a nest. The lizard is probably trying to get away from the birds. The birds look like they are very concentrated at whatever they are doing. It looks like they are getting food so that they can eat. It looks like the birds are on a branch in a tree on on the ground.

  7. When I look at the first picture I think to myself what sweet little birds. There are four birds in this picture. One is flying, one is standing, one is lying on the ground, and there is a baby bird in the nest. The bird flying is just above the ground as if he just took off. It could be getting the baby bird in the nest some food. This bird has black and yellow stripes and his beak pointing as far up as it could go. This bird looks like the mother. The bird that is standing looks like it is on the lookout for predators. It could be protecting the baby bird. This bird has a bright yellow head, a mustard colored belly and a black diamond shape on his neck. The bird on the ground with his beak open just a little bit as if he was communicated with the other birds making sure the baby bird was safe this bird was also black and yellow striped. I think that this picture shows that teamwork is important.

  8. In the first picture, “The Meadow Lark,” it looks like one adult bird is flying away to get food, while the other adult is staying behind to protect the young birds in the nest. The bird protecting the nest appears very alert as it keeps an eye out for possible danger. This reminds me of a meerkat colony, and how there is always one of them who is chosen to protect the whole mob. They never lose their focus, and seem to take their job very seriously! In the painting, I can see the lookout bird’s body straining to notice everything. He looks very serious too. I didn’t see the second young bird on the ground until I zoomed in on the painting, and this is because the bird’s coloring blends in with the ground. The colors are similar in every aspect of this painting. I also noticed this in the other plate. I think Audubon is very consistent in not making any one thing stand out in terms of color, but he uses positioning instead to give life to the scene.

  9. Have you ever felt the need to be someone you’re truly not just to fit in? How did it turn out? I chose the second plate, the Golden- eye Duck. The birds in this picture wanted to be frogs because they thought they were cooler and had more fun. The two birds are trying to play leapfrog like the frogs were. The bird toward the bottom of the picture is instructing the higher bird how to play leapfrog. He is shouting commands about what he remembered the frogs doing. When the two birds tried to be someone they’re not, it ended in a disaster. Everyone has something special in them, and if you just look closer, take one step farther, and reach a little bit higher, you can achieve your wildest dreams. If the birds would stick to flying instead of jumping, they would see sights that the frogs could only dream of. They could soar over the most magnificent landmarks and travel all over the world.
    Corresponding to the title of this plate, the eyes of these birds don’t just burst with color, but they show a sign of fear and terror. These birds have learned a valuable lesson that only comes from experience. Just be proud of yourself, and don’t try to be someone your not.

  10. The second picture appealed to me over the other one because it reminded me somewhat of the Arctic Tern plate that was used in Okay For Now. What I see in this picture is the “terrified eye” that Gary Schmidt describes so well in the novel. Both birds have the “terrified eye”, which describes the mood of the two birds in the picture, frightened. It looks like, to me, that these birds are flapping their wings rapidly with scared looks on their faces, illustrating that they are attempting to escape from something. The backround is dark and weary showing that the day is stormy and gloomy, so the birds might be flapping their wings so fast to get away from the rain. Another option is that a predator is chasing them, and they are flying away to safety. When drawing the picture, the painter (or drawer) might have been feeling sad or gloomy because of the depressing story that the image displays.

  11. The picture that I choose wast he second one. This picture says somthing bad is going to happen. I think that the colors tell what is going to happen.It is dark and gloomy and it looks as if the two birds are falling out of their nest and are they are heading for the ground. The birds are trying to fly but they are ither flightless or they have not learned yet. When I looked closer the bird that is farther down looks hurt and can not fly weather he is flightless or has not learned.Then I thought that the bird who is hurt fell over and was not able to fly and then the other bird flew down to help him and realized that he can’t fly and he just put himself in danger. I think that the bird who is trying to help the hurt one is trying to yell hoping that another bird that is stronger to pick them both up and lower them safely to the gound.

  12. The first picture, “Meadow Lark”. The bird that is flying away from the nest seems like it is the younglings mother. The picture sort of shows that the big bird is flying away to get food because the two birds in the nest are looking at it while it is flying away. The two birds in the nest seem to be hungry. The bird that is standing out of the nest looks like it is watching something and trying to protect the young ones. The bird could be standing guard and looking out for danger like bigger birds or animals. The bird seems so protective that it would give it’s own life for the younger birds. It shows that the older bird has courage and bravery inside t’s heart.

  13. I really enjoy looking at the Golden Eye Duck almost how Doug did. I think this picture is sad, but at the same time really hard to take your eyes off of because you are thinking whats going to happen next. In this picture I see a stormy day with lighting and thunder, but unfortunately the birds were at the wrong place at the wrong time and got struck by lighting and are falling to their death. The two birds seem to be brothers and got lost from their parents, and got caught in a huge storm. You can tell the birds are falling in this photo because they look like they are struggling to fly to reach safety. This picture relets to “Okay for Now” because the first bird seem to be selfish just like Doug’s dad, and the second bird seems to be doug because hes being kicked by the first bird so he can reach safety first.

  14. The picture on the top, in my opinion, represents a healthy, working family. In the picture it shows 2 adult birds and 1 baby one. The two adults seem like they are the little one’s parents. I think the flowers and the nice little nest in the background represents a good environment for a family that is healthy and functional. I also think the bird that is flying away is a father getting food for the mom and the baby, which represents a father working and providing for his family. I think the background has a big role in determining whether it is a happy or a sad story. In this picture the background is green in brown which represents earth and nature which are happy things. Also the yellow flowers show that it is spring and a happy time. If the background was dark and gloomy and the flowers were dead I think it would totally change the vibe of the plate.

  15. The second picture really appealed to me. The thing that I liked the most is the texture that he put into the ducks. What I think is happening in this picture is one of the ducks is trying to fly away but the other duck is trying to tell it not to because there are thunder clouds in the back ground and that it would be dangerous to fly out there with the clouds. Also that the duck in the front is ignoring the other duck and that the other duck is getting annoyed and is about to fly away and give up but hope he fly’s back safe. If the background was a different color like blue then it would change the whole picture and it would be less gloomy than it is now.

  16. The Golden-Eye ducks are terrified, you can see, well not see, feel their fear of something. This something is just beyond the image, which Audubon probably put to make you look at the picture like a chump for hours on end, the jerk. They’re high in the clouds with a storm raging around them, the falling one has been hit by something, and has lost use of his wings, and the one on top has been lifted by a rising wind. In one final effort, the top bird reaches out to the bottom bird, hoping to save his friend, but at that moment the bottom bird falls toward a cliff, now with completely no use of his body. He is helpless as he falls towards his death, the terrified eye. Luckily though, his friend pushed on and streamlined, catching him by the talon at the last second. After this life changing moment these birds will be friends for as long as they live.

  17. I am doing mine on “The Meadow Lark, or Meadow Starling”.

    Well this is how I see the picture. So the birds live on a little itty-bitty island and the birds are all relatives. I think that the birds all have different jobs to contribute to the small family. The bird up in the air is getting ready to go fly away to try and find more materials to make their nest and the environment around them a better place. The one all crouched down low is searching for little worms to eat and share with the others. The one inside the nest is taking the rest shift for this round and that is also the place the birds sleep at night (unless they are nocturnal) and where they would go if they got wounded. (Don’t worry every bird gets a turn to rest.) The other bird on the far left is on the lookout for any predators or fellow relatives. In this picture I see that the small family of birds all work together to survive and are nice to each other, unlike Doug’s dad and brother are to him.

  18. The second picture, the Golden-Eye ducks seem scared. The ducks are running away from something big something very strong and very fierce. The two birds are relatives and are running away from there other siblings but much stronger relatives. The ducks live on the dark side of a big town and there is no sun just darkness al day and all night. The town always has something to run away from something to hide from someone and always something to be afraid of.

    My connection was in the book Okay for Now, it seems like Doug alwasy has something to hide from somone(his brother) and something to be afraid of as in everything he does that makes him happy something or someone will ruin it and it seems like he has to be aware of danger.

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