“But he’s a crocodile!” Mrs. Primm says to her young son, Josh, when he begs her to keep the huge reptile that they’ve discovered bathing and singing in their attic.

Josh has struggled to fit into his scary new environment since he and his parents moved to New York City. But when he comes across Lyle the crocodile, Josh’s life takes a joyous turn. Lyle proves to be a faithful and kind friend, helping Josh adjust to life in the Big Apple.

“Mom, he’s harmless,” Josh reasons. “All he does is sing and eat caviar. And he wears a cute scarf!”

Behind Bars

Mr. and Mrs. Primm finally allow Lyle to stay. He becomes part of their family, even helping clean the house and entertain the kids in the neighbourhood. But their mean neighbour, Mr. Grumps, thinks Lyle is a nuisance. The persnickety man schemes to have Lyle trapped and taken to the zoo.

Will Josh be able to rescue his best friend? And even if he manages that miracle, will Josh be able to convince Mr. Grumps that Lyle is not a threat, but a loveable, essential member of the neighbourhood, even though he’s a crocodile?

Perfect Blend

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Sony Pictures’ newest animated family musical, is based on the beloved children’s book by Bernard Waber. Perhaps your parents read the Lyle series to you, or you read it to your kids or grandkids. Now you can experience it on the big screen.

Juno-winning and Grammy-nominated Canadian singer Shawn Mendes makes his film debut as the voice of Lyle. Winslow Fegley (Spinning Gold) plays the young Josh Primm and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) is Mrs. Primm. In theatres now, this film’s perfect blend of adventure, music and fun is sure to delight audiences of every age.

Same Kind of Different

Friends come in various forms. We may be tempted to avoid others who are different from us in how we look, the culture we grew up in or the way we talk. The story of Lyle reminds us that differences can benefit our community and our world.

Jesus welcomed everyone who sincerely requested His help. Their differences didn’t deter Him from relating to them. He ate with sinners, healed lepers and even forgave the thief who hung on the cross beside Him. Jesus’ love for others was inclusive, not limited.

When we welcome as friends “the least of these” (see Matthew 25:40) who may look and act differently than we do, we remind others of Jesus, the Best Friend Ever.

Fun Facts About Lyle

• Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the latest in a series of live action/CGI adaptations of children’s books, including Paddington, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Christopher Robin.

• Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo who penned songs for The Greatest Showman, collaborated with Shawn Mendes on the score for Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.

• The real impetus behind Mr. Grumps’ hatred of Lyle is his cat, Loretta. (But even if you’re a cat person, you’ll enjoy this movie!)

Author of five books and hundreds of published articles, Jeanette Levellie and her husband make their home in Paris, Illinois. Jeanette’s hobbies include spoiling her three grandchildren, pampering her cats and inventing new ways to avoid housework. Find her splashes of hope and humour at jeanettelevellie.com.

Illustrations: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing

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