The Amazing Flight of Little Ray
November 2018 by V. R. Duin


Little Ray heard, “What's that, Mommy?”
“It's a pancake shark, my little Tommy.”
“ If it's a shark, why can't it get away?”
“ Maybe it can't figure out the way.”
(“The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”)

Little Ray shows that pancake shark, flat shark and pancake stingray are exciting names, because stingrays are part of the shark family.

Pancake Shark, flat shark or pancake stingray are other names for stingrays. These names make these fish sound exciting to people. There is no stingray that looks like a shark. Angel sharks look like stingrays. The information in this article should help children learn that rays and stingrays are part of the shark family. However, these fish have different parts. They also act very differently. These differences give interesting results. Children do not have to belong to the same family, have the same name, or go with the flow to become winners.

Pancake stingrays also are called flat sharks. More than 10,000 pictures of the stingrays, other rays and sharks in this family may be found on The Elasmodiver Shark and Ray Field Guide. The site also has information about evolution, biology, encounters and conservation. Stingrays and sharks come together in “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”. Little Ray and Shark's adventure in this book gives inspiration for children to work together for the benefit of everyone.

Little Ray's pancake shark lessons for children come as adventures. His books use fact and fantasy in stories that prove stingrays are in the shark family. The action in these stories gets children thinking about what really matters in life. Little Ray teaches that appearance is far less important than attitude for success. Little Ray wants everyone to enjoy the beauty of life under water. His positive attitude sends him into the air, where he connects with people everywhere. Whether kids call stingrays “pancake sharks”, “pancake stingrays” or “flat sharks”, Little Ray wants kids to learn the facts and fun about them.

As shown in the above illustration from “The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”, a stingray is flat, like a pancake. When viewed from the underside, Little Ray's illustrations correctly show a flat shark wearing a “smile”. This true detail about stingrays should have friends, who are learning about stingrays and sharks smiling, too. A smile often is worn by those who help others, who are successful, who are loving and who are developing new skills. Learning the group of rays and stingrays are part of the shark family may help children make other comparisons. Little Ray hopes children will form a greater connection with these fish and their watery world.

Everyone enjoys a dive into Little Ray's adventurous, factual and inspirational books for children.“The Amazing Flight of Little Ray” is a factually correct and fantastically fun introduction to the pancake shark. Little Ray also has videos that show him gracefully dancing, swimming, gliding and leaping from the water. People, rays, stingrays and sharks are not limited to a life in salt water. Readers can learn more about the freshwater stingray species from the zookeepers, conservationists, handlers, educators and other resources online or by admission to the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.

Swim with Mama Ray while she watches Little Ray prepare to take flight like a bird. Help Little Ray and shark get a leaking, sinking boating family's disabled craft to shore. In “Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”, children see how stingrays can press their rubbery wings against an object and create suction. Little Ray uses this action to patch a hole in the boat. A mucous membrane adds protection and decreases drag. It helps Little Ray stick around. It also can help with fast getaways. This slime is common in rays and stingrays of the shark family. Whether they're called “pancake sharks”, “pancake stingrays” or “flat sharks”, these fish are generally safer when fleeing.

The unique form of the pancake shark gives these fish special abilities. When stingrays and their look-alike angel shark cousins take to the air, they look a lot like birds. Little Ray's adventures show shark family comparisons. Sharks have scary reputations. Stingrays are dangerous when someone grabs, blocks or steps on them. Neither stingrays nor sharks want to just “fit in”. They prefer to live free when they feel threatened. They also like to exercise their differences. There are many reasons why stingrays are part of the shark family. Reading about them, watching them from land or sea and joining them in water activities will show the huge differences between these fish.

Not all stingrays are deadly. Pancake sharks can be great fun. People can play with these flat sharks in water park settings throughout the world. Encounters, such as those in park settings, may make stingrays seem somewhat boring. They are peaceful in comparison to their fearsome shark family cousins. In captivity, stingrays may act like tame animals. Children or adults safely can feed stingrays in tanks or at water attractions by hand. Stingrays, other rays and many sharks in the shark family are curious explorers. They may brush up against people and new objects in their path. Little Ray hopes children will want to learn about these amazing fish. The slime won't rub off when they are touched. However, the thought that stingrays are part of the shark family should stick for a lifetime.

The United States and the Caribbean have popular stingray parks. These locations help people learn about stingrays. In this way, people discover that a stingray doesn't have to be called “pancake shark” to be exciting, or interesting. The group of stingrays and other rays are among the few fish with eyes on the top of their heads. Barreleyes, also known as spook fish, have tubular eyes that are directed overhead. These fish can look upwards at human visitors and while ambushing prey. Pancake shark inspiration for children is not just about learning that stingrays are part of the shark family. Little Ray's shark family comparisons give many important lessons about ocean life. These lessons can help children cope with life on land.

Attractions typically call their featured animals stingrays. These places may prefer that visitors do not learn about the family relationship between these tough relatives. Connecting the group of stingrays and other rays with the dangerous shark family might scare away visitors. At some attractions around the world, visitors are able to swim with the resident pancake stingrays. The stinging spine barbs are humanely removed or kept trimmed by veterinarians. This dangerous work requires special training. Trimming is not painful to the stingray, but the barbs grow back about every three months. Some stingrays become used to regular barb trimmings. The frequency of these trimmings increases the risk of a venomous sting to the handlers.

Friendly flat sharks may brush against visitors to explore them. SeaWorld at Orlando, the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium, also in Tampa, are Florida home to stingray touch pools or interactive lagoons. Big eaters may become fast growers. The group of stingrays and other rays in the shark family quickly may outgrow home aquariums. Saltwater fish require more space, more work and more equipment than their freshwater cousins. Caring for stingrays, other rays and sharks is difficult. These fish do poorly in captivity. Stingrays at tourist locations receive regular feedings in their large homes. In these places, they do not show their wild side.

A pancake shark can get aggressive and be pushed to attack. Even in captivity, some stingrays accept handling; others do not. Cleaners of inside aquarium walls must move with care. Extra care must be taken when a group of stingrays is present. Commercial or scientific organizations may put several stingrays in a single tank for breeding or display purposes. Different types of rays are generally kept in different tanks. Readers of Little Ray's Children's Books will no longer question why a group of stingrays' name is “fever”. Pancake shark inspiration for children comes with shark family differences that are exciting and bold. They'll know the many reasons flat sharks are “hot, hot, hot”!

Pancake sharks can cause a fever and long term effects with their painful sting. Inexperienced ray keepers should not handle stingrays for barb trimming. Experienced handlers often feel the severe pain that comes with a quick touch. Few stingray sting victims are willing to repeat the experience. A stingray sting ranks high on the pain scale. Proof that rays and stingrays are part of the shark family also is found in their hard protective skin. These tough-skinned fish can take touching better than fish with slime or scale-protected protections alone. Although they are hardy, most members of the ray and stingray family have a strong flight instinct. When they feel threatened and cannot flee, stingrays may sting.

Pancake stingrays should never be chased. To bring good ending to “The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”, Little Ray is provoked to harmlessly sting a bird. When escape is not possible, stingrays will use the self-defense of painful and possibly deadly stinging. Little Ray gives children many important reasons to learn about shark family differences. These differences are not just with their natural defenses. However, as with their shark relatives, it is not a good idea block a stingray's travel path. The stinging tail spine is located at the base or middle of the tail. Stingrays may turn to face threatening individuals to meet them with a defensive attack.

Everyone should learn to move like a dancing stingray. Who wants to scuffle with angry or frightened flat sharks? Visitors to the ocean world of these shark family members should learn how to do the stingray shuffle. Learning to do the Stingray Shuffle can be done on land. It is good to practice there is no risk of getting stung. Little Ray gives inspiration for children to join in the movements. Children won't want to do this dance around sharks. Quietly move away from sharks. Little Ray's Stingray Shuffle dance video should prevent some missteps. While having fun, kids can imagine they are scaring off a group of stingrays. They also must take care to not attract a shark. Movements that scare off stingrays may bring in some shark cousins.

This shuffling dance movement will scare away angel sharks. These creatures, and any stingrays that are half-buried in the sand, should flee the heavy vibrations. This dance could prevent an unfriendly encounter. However, it will not prevent the rare injury that comes with stepping upon a buried stinging barb. These dangerous parts can be left behind when a stingray leaves the area. After joining Little Ray and friends in the dance of the Stingray Shuffle, be sure to read the other fun facts about ocean life throughout this website. Whether they're called “pancake sharks”, “pancake stingrays” or “flat sharks”, these amazing stingrays are part of the shark family.

Little Ray serves as a role model of inspiration for children. The regularly updated articles throughout this website add interesting details and insights about the group of stingrays, other rays and sharks. Interesting facts about these pancake shark family members should be discussed with children while reading Little Ray's inspirational books and articles for children. Little Ray teaches children to work on any weaknesses. Everyone will applaud Little Ray's passionate efforts to live big dreams, if not his outcomes. Success often comes with tinkering to discover a new method to achieve a purpose.

Children are empowered by Little Ray. This young stingray faces life with daring adventure. This pancake shark challenges children to set bigger dreams. He shows how a group of stingrays, other rays and sharks move beyond their comfort zones for accomplishments. As children make the shark family comparisons through reading, watching and discussions with the adults in their lives, they are motivated to set themselves apart. There are strengths and opportunities in finding and emphasizing differences, however great or small. Relevant displays of uniqueness can help children demonstrate the creative thinking required for success at school, at work and in the community.

Help the Shark Family

  • Shark Family Little Ray says:

    The pancake shark and other members of the shark family have an advocate in Shark Advocates International, which is dedicated to preserving these vulnerable fishes.

  • pancake shark Little Ray says:

    According to, some species of flat or pancake shark, are so endangered, it is hard to find pictures of them.

    • inspiration for childrenLittle Ray says:

      Little Ray's books engage children with his stories and other productions about the group of stingrays and other rays.