REVIEW WRITTEN BY DEBRA WALLACE
For Digital First Media
From the moment you hear the Max & Ruby theme song, about a patient and goal-oriented big sister rabbit named Ruby and her rambunctious little brother rabbit Max, you know your family will be charmed by their shenanigans.
The adorable duo have many fun-filled adventures in the recently-released 96-minute DVD from Nickelodeon, “Max & Ruby: Sweet Siblings,” [$14.99], which features 12 episodes of the animated series based on the classic children’s books written by Rosemary Wells. The series began in 2002.
Trains, travel and adventure are a common theme in many of the episodes. In “Engineer Max,” his sister Ruby wants to go to Grandma’s house for a special surprise, but Max wants to ride on a toy train at the store instead.
After two episodes in which Max is fixated on trains, he gets to go on an actual locomotive in “Max & Ruby’s Train Trip,” a story about getting on the right train, and “Go To Sleep Max,” in which Ruby wants to settle down to slumber in their sleeper car, but Max it seems, is just too excited to go to sleep.
There are quite a few life lessons in “Max & Ruby: Sweet Siblings,” about learning to be patience with a younger sibling that has his own agenda. Several other lessons include: sharing, kindness, and love between siblings and other family members. It is clear that despite Max’s mischief he helps Ruby learn these life lessons.
“Max & Ruby celebrates the relationship between Ruby and her younger brother, Max, and the universal nature of sibling relationships,” says children’s book author Rosemary Wells on the Nick Jr. website.
“We don’t see Max and Ruby’s parents because I believe that kids resolve their issues and conflicts differently when they’re on their own,” Wells said. “The television series [and DVDs] gives kids a sense about how these two siblings resolve their conflicts in a humorous and entertaining way.”
In keeping with a formula for the series which has run for five seasons, within each 23-minute episode, Ruby is typically engaged in some sort of project or activity, while Max has a particular interest of his own which distracts her.
Besides his love for toy trains and real trains, Max likes to dress up and pretend to me his favorite super hero Space Bunny; while Ruby enjoys such activities as tea parties, fashion parties, and spa days with her rabbit girlfriends.
Generally, Max’s dialog within each story is usually limited to just one word or a two-word phrase, which he repeats periodically for the rest of the episode until the end, and what he is trying to say is often misinterpreted.
By the end of each delightful story, Max usually ends up helping Ruby in some way, to her benefit and delight, or outsmarts her when she is trying to restrict him.
In all, just like the delightful TV show, the DVD of “Max & Ruby: Sweet Siblings,” is a charming adventure for parents to share with their preschoolers — a true family treat.