Title: IF THE MAGIC FITS
Author: Susan Maupin Schmid
Publication Date: October 25. 2016
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two…or a hundred.
This book is exactly the kind of book I would’ve picked up, devoured, and re-read when I was a young reader … but it’s also the kind of book I picked up, devoured and will re-read as an adult reader, and that is what is so charming about it.
IF THE MAGIC FITS has a classic feel to it, without feeling dated or boring. It is funny, tense, touching, and, of course, magical.
The author, Susan Maupin Schmid was kind enough to answer some questions for all of us and I am so pleased to have her!
—Where did you get the idea for this book?
From Eleanor Estes. Her Newbery Honor book, The Hundred Dresses, irked me as a child. Poor Wanda is teased about wearing the same dress every day. But she claims she has a hundred at home. Except that she doesn’t!! Years later, my childhood disappointment over Wanda’s empty closet caused me to ask: What if there was a closet with one hundred dresses? At that point, Darling Dimple began to whisper in my ear about a castle built by dragons…
—What is your favorite scene in IF THE MAGIC FITS?
When Darling tries on one of the dresses for the first time. When I wrote it I had no idea who would appear in the mirror. I found myself typing Marci’s name—and I laughed out. That was the moment when the dresses themselves came to life for me.
—What did this story teach you about writing?
Hang on to the kernel! Every story idea has a tiny kernel of deeper meaning beneath it. You can monkey with the plot, but whatever you do, don’t lose sight of that kernel! It’s your story’s soul. Without it, your manuscript is a zombie, an undead version of a book, and not a real story
—What is your favorite thing about middle grade?
The magic of possibilities. Middle grade readers are so willing to ask “what if?” What if my dog could talk? What if my best friend turned into a chimpanzee? What if I owned the chocolate factory? And those are my favorite kinds of questions to answer.
—Can you please list your top 3 middle grade reads?
No. I can’t. I read dozens of middle grade novels every year and always find favorites. My all-time favorites are Edgar Eager’s Half Magic, Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, and Madeline L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time. Recent favorites: A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage (love Mo LeBeau), and The Forbidden Library series by Django Wexler (who should write faster; the idea of making me wait a whole year for another book! Someone should talk to him. Oh wait. I’m writing a series…it’s harder than it looks. Never mind).
—What advice do you have for anyone who wants to write middle grade?
Remember how it felt. Being ten. Being eleven. Turning twelve. In my opinion, that’s the secret to a great middle grade novel: stepping into those middle grade shoes.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk Middle Grade with us Susan! We’re so excited for IF THE MAGIC FITS to come out tomorrow!