This German family film was based on a book by Erich Kaestner, whose work was previously adapted for the screen in the films Emil and the Detectives and The Parent Trap.
Ten-year-old Annaluise (Elea Geissler), nicknamed Puenktchen, is best friends with Anton (Max Felder) despite the difference in their backgrounds -- Annaluise's parents work in the medical field and are quite well-to-do, while Anton's father is missing and his mother Elli (Meret Becker) has health problems and can only work part-time at a local café.
When Elli's doctor advises her to take a trip to the seashore that she cannot afford, Anton steals a gold cigarette lighter from Annaluise's folks, causing serious friction between his mother and her parents.
Meanwhile, Anton borrows the café's delivery van to head to Berlin in search of his father, while Annaluise tries to make some extra money to help her friend by performing in the subway. The story also pauses occasionally for musical numbers and mild romantic interludes among the grown-up characters.