"Friends in Need" is an abridged book adaption of The Land Before Time. It was written by Jim Razzi, whereas the pictures are cels from the film. It was printed in hardcover and softcover, though the softcover version is more common. It follows a similar story to the original movie, starting out with Littlefoot's Mother telling him about the Great Valley, and ending with the gang scaring away the lizard-heads from Cera. However, it is shorter and more summarized than The Illustrated Story (The Illustrated Story is 64 pages while Friends in Need is just 24).
On the back of the book there are a few other books advertised, including itself: "The Search for the Great Valley", "Littlefoot's Adventures", "Cera's Adventures", "Littlefoot's New Friends", and the cassettes of itself and "The Search for the Great Valley".
One thing that makes this book very noticeable is that it contains some cut scenes from the original movie, due to the fact that the movie shows cels from the film, and not original paintings like in The Land Before Time: The Illustrated Story. However, there are more cut scenes in The Illustrated Story, and scenes the book's scenes are supposed to be representations of the film cels.
Detailed Book Summary
Under Construction The book starts out explaining who Littlefoot is, and that he lived with his mother and grandparents in a harsh land where food was scarce. They had to travel day and night to find enough food. Littlefoot has no friends, which to him is almost just as bad as having no food. His mother tells him that they are traveling to the Great Valley, and to get there they must follow the bright circle where it touches the ground, go past the rock that looks like a long-neck, and past the mountains that burn. She tells him that in the Great Valley there will be plenty of water and food, and there will be other long-necks for him to play with. Littlefoot understands, and hopes that they will reach the Great Valley soon, but also doesn't want to wait for a friend, and doesn't care if isn't another long-neck.
One day he finds a three-horn named Cera. He trys to play with her, but her father stops them and says "Three-horns never play with long-necks." Littlefoot expects Cera to say something, but all she does is stick her tongue out at him. Littlefoot doesn't understand, and when his mother tells him "We all keep to ourselves" he still doesn't understand. Later he meets Cera again, who is chasing a hopper through a swamp. He quickly joins in to play with her and they soon forget all about their fight. Suddenly, while they are playing a huge Sharptooth appears. Littlefoot's mother quickly comes to the rescue and bravely fights the Sharptooth until Littlefoot and Cera get away to safety.
Soon after they find a hiding place though, the ground begins to tremble. Cera screams "it's an earthquake!" The ground splits and jets of steam shoot up. Everything goes so fast Littlefoot doesn't have time to think. After the earthquake stops, his mother, Cera, and Sharptooth are all gone. He calls for his mother and finally finds her lying on the ground, gasping for breath, because she had been hurt by Sharptooth. His mother tells him to find the Great Valley, saying even though she has never seen it, she knows in her heart that it exists. Littlefoot tells her that he wants her to be with him. She looks at him lovingly and says that she will always be with him in his heart. She then lowers her head and dies.
Littlefoot slowly walks away with tears in his eyes. His heart tells him he needs a friend, so when he sees Cera again he calls out to her. When she asks him what he wants, he tells her that he's going to the Great Valley and asks her if she wants to come with him. She tells him that "A three-horn doesn't need help from a long-neck" and stomps off. Littlefoot, alone and even sadder, walks up to a pond and meets a young big-mouth named Ducky. She wants to come with Littlefoot on his journey, but Cera had confused him so that he didn't know whether to act friendly towards Ducky. He finally decides to let her join him. Soon after, they meet a baby flier named Petrie, and the three children travel off towards the bright circle.
That night, they meet Cera, who tells them that she ran into Sharptooth in the canyon, but Littlefoot doesn't believe her. He says "No matter what happens, we must stick together, that is the only way we all can reach the valley safely." Cera shrugs as if it doesn't matter to her. The next day Ducky stumbles upon a nest with a lone egg that is snoring. She taps on the egg and tells the creature inside that it should come out. The egg hatches to reveal a sleepy-eyed baby spike-tail. Ducky decides to name him Spike, and asks her friends if he could join them, which he does. Everyone seems happy to be in the group except Cera, who says all she wants is to find her family and be with her own kind. Cera knows that it wasn't true anymore, but doesn't admit it. Meanwhile, Littlefoot wonders if they will ever find the Great Valley, as they'd traveled far but haven't seen any sign of it yet.
One night, the children find a hole to sleep in. The next morning they realize that it's one of Sharptooth's footprints, and then Sharptooth appears himself. Littlefoot saves the others by making Sharptooth chase him while they get away. After the others get to safety he squeezes after them into a small canyon. When he reaches them though, Cera is angry at him. She says that she told him Sharptooth was alive, and that he almost got them killed. Littlefoot is hurt and upset, but his sadness gives way to excitement when he sees the rock that looks like a long-neck, the one his mother told him about. He tells the others that they are reaching the Great Valley, and they all went on their way with renewed hope.
The travelers pass through a forest with strange-looking trees and over a barren plain near the burning mountains. They pass through an ash storm with hot blazing embers until the finally reach a bleak desert. When they are all tired, hungry, and thirsty, Spike suddenly sniffs the air.
Cut Scenes and Original Ending
The main thing that "Friends in Need" is famous for is that it contains scenes that have been cut from the original movie, as it goes off of the May 1987 uncut script of the film.
- The first cut scene is shown on the twelfth page of the book. It shows Ducky trying to lure Spike with berries while Littlefoot and Cera argue about him joining them on their journey, known as the Berry Scene. In the movie, this scene was cut, supposedly to tone down the racism aspect of the film, as Cera was strongly against letting Spike join the group in said scene.
- The second was the Oasis Scene. It involves the gang coming across an oasis and meeting a group of gray-noses (Saurolophus) and crown-heads (indeterminate pachycephalosaurs). It may have been cut from the film to also tone down racism.
The third thing that the book is known for is that it contains the original ending, wherein Littlefoot goes off and finds the Great Valley on his own, before turning back to save his friends. These scenes are present in The Illustrated Story and The Search for the Great Valley as well.
- Cera calls the earthquake in the book an earthquake, instead of an "earthshake", which is what the characters in the Land Before Time universe usually call them.