The story of a gaggle of youngsters who can't stand their overbearing step-father and new step-brothers. They're given a chemistry set to bribe them into good behavior, but quickly discover that it can actually be used to make magic potions. The potions get them into ever more convoluted schemes and increasing amounts of trouble, until their dysfunctional household finally reaches a crisis point.
This is a really charming story, filled with little touches of 1970s Britain that I found quaint and sweet. Each of the children has a distinct and memorable personality, and the uses to which they put their magic are both imaginative and relatable (who wouldn't
make their dolls come to life?). I was truthfully a bit troubled by how easily the step-father's constant yelling and intermittent hitting were explained away, but I think this is a generational divide rather than a narrative misstep.