The Land Before Time. I can remember when the first movie came out, though I do not recall my age. According to IMDb, I was six-ish. I'll take it. However, though I remember watching the movie and having panic attacks about what would happen if my mom ever died divorce will do that to ya..., I mainly remember the movie promotions. The Pizza Hut movie promotions, to be exact.
When I was six years old, we would go to the neighborhood Pizza Hut and relax in one of their comfy red pleather-ette booths. My step-dad would invariably talk about "when I was the manager of Pizza Hut..." and my mother would smoke. Because, you know, you could smoke in restaurants in those days. I'm glad my kids will never remember that. But, I would lean back and stare at the dinosaurs floating above my head.
They had all the main characters. Ducky, and Rooter, and Littlefoot. Cera and Petrie, too. Petrie was the coolest, I thought, because he actually belonged up in the ceiling. He could really fly, you know. The puppets were made of a flexible rubber or vinyl. They were painted and had the year stamped across their butts. And, the inside smelled funny. Don't ask me how I know.
Each month, during their promotion, we would venture out to Pizza Hut to redeem my Book It! coupon. I would take along my big purple button and receive my good-for-you! sticker. Each time, I got a personal pan pizza with pepperoni. My parents didn't give me a choice. If they had, I would have picked sausage. Maybe that's why I'm a sausage fiend now. And, each time, I would receive one of those floating puppets. In my childlike mind, they hung there like pinatas, ready for the taking. Eventually, I had the complete collection.
While Pizza Hut no longer offers The Land Before Time puppets, they do continue to support reading through the Book It program. It has changed slightly. There are no more big purple buttons, though I do hope they come back for Book It's 25th anniversary, wouldn't that be awesome? and I can't remember what the kids receive. Alex's school didn't participate past second grade, for some goofy reason. Why wouldn't they encourage kids to read?
Anyway, now that we are homeschooling, I have enrolled Alex in the Book It program for the 2011-2012 school year. Our materials will arrive in the fall and we'll get started right away. I love reading incentives!
Do you want to participate, too? If you're a homeschooling family, you can go here to sign up. Hey, even if you don't homeschool, but your school doesn't participate, I'd sign up. The program is just that good.