Maximillian’s Mouth

by Ted Scheu

Maximillian's Mouth by Ted Scheu

You hear it pounding down the tracks,
but you can’t stop the mouth of Max.
Don’t stand in its way, you’ll be run over flat.
It’s comin’ through, and that is that.

Max-i-mil-lian, Max-i-mil-lian,
Mum-bling, Rum-bling,
Yelling, Swelling,
Chittering, Chattering,
Jibbering, Jabbering,
Clittering, Clattering,
Jawing, Cawing,
Finding flawing,
Teasing, Wheezing,
Never pleasing,
Yackety yacking,
Talking backing,
Can’t you seeing,
Call on meing,
Me first! Me first!
Outburst! Outburst!

The train eventually goes away
when Max and his mouth go home for the day.
The peace that comes when that occurs
makes ears grin broadly, mine and yours.

  — Ted Scheu

Copyright © 2002. All Rights Reserved. From I Invited a Dragon to Dinner. Philomel. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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About this Poem

This poem was the very first I ever had published, in a fun anthology called, I Invited a Dragon to Dinner, (Philomel, 2002). The illustration in the book was done by Chris Demarest and it was hilarious. Max, who was a real kid (a real loud kid) in my 2nd grade classroom when I was a teacher, had a voice that you could hear coming a mile away. It could shatter glass up close. Of course, he got in trouble a lot, and he inspired me to remember him years later. Maybe he’s working as a foghorn on the coast?

From I Invited a Dragon to Dinner

I invited a dragon to dinner.
My parents were really surprised.
They thought he would wish for lobster and fish,
But he ordered a burger and fries…

Get ready for some of the silliest, funniest poems around!  Written entirely by fresh talent, this collection is the result of a nationwide contest to find the best new writers of verse for children.  With spirited illustrations by Chris L. DemarestI Invited a Dragon to Dinner is a feast of delight just waiting to be devoured.  Dig in!

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About the Author

Ted Scheu (pronounced “shy”) is a children’s poet and teacher from Middlebury, Vermont who is often introduced as a 3rd grader stuck in a grown-up’s body. He is a former elementary teacher (and naval officer, banker, advertising copywriter, and carpenter), who started writing funny poems seriously about 20 years ago. His poems are published over two dozen anthologies in the US and UK, and in six collections of his own: I Froze My Mother, I Tickled My Teachers, I Threw My Brother Out, Now I Know My ZBCs, Getting the Best of Me, and his latest, a tribute to teachers through kids’ eyes (Ted’s kid-eyes) called, Someday I’ll be a Teacher.

His poems are featured in over two dozen anthologies around the world, including in two amazing anthologies from National Geographic, The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry, and The Poetry of US. Ted is also super proud of a poem of his that appears a marvelously-sleep-inducing anthology from Little, Brown and Co. called, One Minute till Bedtime.

When he’s not writing humorous poems about kids’ lives, Ted spends about 100 days a year visiting schools around the country. He shares his poems, and mostly helps young writers find their own voices in writing workshops, and to have the kind of fun with poems he never had as a kid. Ted tries to begin (and sometimes end) a poem every day, and when he’s not writing or visiting schools, he loves to eat cereal with lots of milk, and ride his bike—just like any kid his age.

If you haven’t ventured yet to Ted’s website, you’re in for a tickle when you do. Ted and his ‘cousins’ will entertain you. It’s all at

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