Valerie Monroe
August 17, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

We gave it a B

When the mischievous Tommy Tricker (played by Anthony Rogers) makes an unfair philatelic trade with his naive pal Ralphie (Lucas Evans), he sets off a chain of events that includes an unsolved mystery and high adventure.

In Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller, Tommy sells Ralphie’s valuable stamp to a collector, who offers in return an old stamp collection he thinks is worthless. But Ralphie, his sister Nancy (Jill Stanley), and their egghead friend, Albert (Andrew Whitehead), find in the collection old letters from a 11-year-old boy that tell of a valuable stamp collection hidden on the other side of the world and an unusual way to get to it: hitching a ride on a stamp.

Ralphie takes off for China and Australia (where he meets Tommy again) and, with the help of a pretty Aussie girl, they discover the vital clues that lead them to the valuable stamps.

This Canadian film celebrates children’s courage and imagination in a way American films rarely do. The kids, for instance, orchestrate their adventures without any help or interference from adults. But Tommy has other things going for it: tension, strong characterizations, and wry and slapstick humor. The theme song and background music (written by the McGarrigle sisters, Kate, Anna, and Jane) are tuneful and celebratory. And though the movie is marred by some spotty performances, it is rich with mystery and fun. B

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