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.

No stingray looks like a shark. Angel sharks look like stingrays. Flat shark names seem exciting, because of the shark family connection. Children do not have to be in the same family or change names.

The family is diverse. Over 10,000 pictures are on The Elasmodiver Shark and Ray Field Guide. It informs about evolution, biology, encounters and conservation. Meet them in Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up.

A stingray is flat. When viewed from the underside, Little Ray correctly wears a “smile”. This should get friends smiling. Smiles grace those who are helpful, successful, loving and learning.

Prepare to take flight. Help get a leaking, sinking, disabled craft to shore. Watch Little Ray use his rubbery “wings” to patch the hole. A slimy membrane adds protection and suction.

Compare rays and sharks Sharks have scary reputations. Stingrays are dangerous when someone grabs, blocks or steps on them. Fish do not want to “fit in”. They live free and exercise their differences.

Captive rays act like pets. Play with them in water parks. Feed them by hand. They are curious. They brush up against people. The slime won't rub off. Stingrays being shark relatives should stick for a lifetime.

Stingray parks are popular. Lessons about ocean life help with life on land. Stingrays and other rays are among the few fish with eyes on the top of their heads. Stingrays look up at people and may not show a wild side.

Interactive lagoons call them “stingrays”. The shark connection might scare visitors. People swim with them. The stinging spines are humanely removed or trimmed. Trimming does not hurt. The barbs grow back.

It is better to visit than own these fish. Big eaters are fast growers. They outgrow home aquariums. Saltwater fish require more space, work and equipment than freshwater fish. Rays and sharks do poorly in captivity.

Some stingrays refuse handling. Cleaners of inside aquarium walls take extra care with fish kept together for breeding or display. Even small pancake sharks can make memorable stings.

Stingrays can cause a fever with their sting. Experienced handlers know the pain that comes with snatching a quick touch. Few victims are willing to repeat the experience. These tough-skinned fish withstand touching.

Aquariums use processed foods. Stingrays prefer small, fresh, live fish, snails, shrimps, crabs, worms, clams and other creatures. Bottom feeders use snouts and fins to stir up meals. They hunt. They ambush.

The pancake form gives fish special abilities. Interesting facts about them should be discussed with children. Little Ray works on his weaknesses. Applaud his passionate efforts.

Children are empowered by Little Ray. He challenges children to live bigger dreams and move beyond comfort zones. His displays of uniqueness help children develop creative thinking for success.

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 sharks 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.