A childhood favorite Nov 24, 2007
Lyle is a kind, gentle crocodile that lives with the Primm family on East 88th Street. Everyone loves Lyle, so it is surprising when the crocodile starts receiving hate notes through the mail slot. No one is able to catch the person leaving the notes, and each note expresses a growing detest of the lovable reptile. Lyle becomes very disturbed by the notes, and endeavors to be even nicer than he was before, helping strangers and using his manners whenever he has the opportunity. But the letters keep arriving.
Finally, the family notices a little girl hanging around the house. The little girl, called Clover, is new to the neighborhood and runs away each time the family tries to greet her. Mrs. Primm eventually catches Clover red-handed as she is about to drop a note through the slot. But why does Clover hate Lyle so much?
The story is an excellent example of overcoming prejudice. Lyle has a enemy because people tend to fear what they don't understand, not because he has done anything to offend anyone. It teaches children what harm can come from ignorance and hate. In the end, the oppressed takes the high road and triumphs while the oppressor sees the error of their ways.