- This page is for the small paperback book with the "Land Before Time" logo on the cover. If you were looking for the longer book released before the original film, see "The Land Before Time: The Illustrated Story".
"The Land Before Time", also known as "The Land Before Time Collection" is a children's book based on the original 1988 animated theatrical movie The Land Before Time. It was written by Mary Hogan; adapted from a story by Judy Freudberg and Tony Geiss, and was illustrated by Beverly Lazor-Bahr. It was published by Inchworm Press in 1999.
The book starts out after the event of the Great Earthshake. It simplifies what happened in the film, showing all five children together right after the earthshake rather than Littlefoot finding them one by one. It explains that the children will have to make a long journey to reunite with their families again, and briefly introduces each character: Littlefoot the friendly long neck, Cera the spunky three-horn, Ducky the swimmer, Spike who is named after his spiked tail, and Petrie the flier, who so far is only a 'faller'. Littlefoot explains to his friends that since their families were headed towards the Great Valley when they were separated, if they go to the Great Valley they might find them. He begins to tell them what his mother told him, but stops momentarily, saddened by the fact that she had died in the earthshake. He points at the sun, saying that his mother told him to follow the bright circle, and that they will know they are going the right way when they see the big rock that looks like a long-neck. The children hear a growl; Petrie explains that his tummy is empty. There isn't much food, but the friends work together to find enough to keep them from being hungry.
The book explains that Littlefoot and his friends have flat teeth for eating plants, but some dinosaurs called Sharpteeth have sharp teeth for eating meat. One morning, Cera wakes her friends up, saying that Sharptooth is there. Sharptooth's roar fills the air, and Littlefoot calls to his friends to follow him as he runs towards a pile of rocks. The five dinosaurs are able to squeeze through a hole in the pile, but Sharptooth can only fit his snout through, and the children escape. As they catch their breath, Littlefoot exclaims that they are going the right way as he sees the rock that looks like a long-neck. The friends travel across steep mountains, hot rocks and lava streams. The journey continues to get harder and harder; Littlefoot continues to say that the Great Valley might be over the next ridge, but it never is. Finally, Cera decides to go her own way saying it is easier, and the other children decide to follow her. Littlefoot is angry and hurt; Petrie asks him to not be angry but Littlefoot continues along the path his mother gave him.
Cera's path starts out easy but becomes dangerous as the ground starts to shift and lava seeps around them. Petrie falls into a pit of sticky black goo, and while Ducky and Spike try to rescue him the ground beneath them breaks and they fall in too. Littlefoot, who has decided to meet back up with his friends, knocks down a rock into the lava near them for Ducky and Spike to jump across. After getting out, Ducky and Spike jump back into the goo; with Littlefoot pulling on Spike's tail they manage to pull Petrie out. Separated from her friends, Cera is ambushed by an angry pack of dinosaurs. Before they can hurt her though, a 'goo monster' appears frightening the pack away. Littlefoot wipes off the goo explaining that the 'goo monster' is them. Cera is too proud to admit she needed help, and stops away with tears in her eyes. While walking past a pond the remaining friends hear Sharptooth's roar. Littlefoot tells them that he has a plan to get rid of Sharptooth for good, but he needs everyone's help to make it work.
Ducky's part of the plan is to be bait for Sharptooth. When she sees him she screams "YAI!", leading him towards the pond. When they get near the pond, Petrie whistles, giving Littlefoot and Spike the signal to push a rock onto Sharptooth's head. However, the rock is too heavy to push, and Sharptooth almost catches Ducky. At that moment, Petrie swoops down and shuts Sharptooth's eye shut, excited that he is finally able to fly. As Littlefoot and Spike continue to try to push the rock, Cera rejoins her friends and helps push the rock down onto Sharptooth's head, causing him to be knocked into the lake where he never scares anyone again. The friends are happy that they defeated Sharptooth, but wonder if they will ever find the Great Valley. Littlefoot looks up to see a cloud that looks like his mother, and chases it as the clouds begin to move. He chases the clouds into a burst of sunshine, which reveals a green land of rivers, lakes, and trees. He excitedly calls his friends to him and they run to their families. As he greets his grandparents, Littlefoot knows he will never forget his adventure, but is glad to be home.
- This book doesn't have an official title, as the only thing pertaining to a title is the Land Before Time logo on the cover.
- This book uses the words 'long neck' and 'long-neck' for Longnecks, and the word 'three-horn' for Threehorns.
- The food the gang gets from the tree appears to be berries instead of leaves like it was in the film.
- The crevice the children slip through in the film is called a pile of rocks in this book.
Like many Land Before Time books, some of the characters in this book have slight coloring differences compared to their colors in the films.
- Petrie is colored in his alternate colors.
- Spike's eyes are colored brown instead of violet. He is also a lighter green, and his belly is cream colored instead of brownish-orange.
- Sharptooth is a much lighter green than in the film.
- Littlefoot's grandparents have blue eyes instead of red. One of them has their top stripe going to the end of their snout, and their mid-color filling their whole snout. In the films, both grandparents have top stripes that stop between their eyes, and only Grandpa Longneck has his mid-color filling his whole snout.