Max and Ruby is an animated series that debuted in 2002 (following a pilot episode in 2001) that is aimed at a preschool audience. Created by children's book author/illustrator Rosemary Wells and based on the world of her Max and Ruby books, the episodes present stories about Max, a rambunctious and determined 3-year-old bunny, and his big sister, Ruby, a patient, goal-oriented, sometimes restrictive 7-year-old bunny. The show presents an uplifting message for its audience by showing Max and Ruby playing together and exercising respect and love in resolving their conflicts. A pilot episode for this series aired in 2001 and the program appeared as a regular series on October 21, 2002. According to Rosemary Wells on the Nick Jr. site, "Max & Ruby celebrates the relationship between Ruby and her younger brother, Max, and the universal nature of sibling relationships.
Each episode consists of three self-contained vignettes. Within each, Ruby is typically engaged in some sort of project or activity, while Max has a particular mania of his own which either runs counter to his sister's or distracts her. Amusingly, 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, sometimes saying a different word. For example, "Tow truck!" or "Jellyballs!" By the end of the story, Max's passion often dovetails with Ruby's in some way, to her benefit and delight.
It features Samantha Morton as the voice of Ruby, Billy Rosemberg as the voice of Max and Julie Lemieux as Louise. In season three, Rebecca Peters replaced Morton as the voice of Ruby. The voice of Grandma is played by Kay Hawtrey.
Max and Ruby's parents are never seen. Except in the vignette entitled "Louise's Secret", The parents are shown in a family portrait hanging above the red flowered couch. The portrait features left to right, Father, Max, Ruby and the mother. They are never mentioned but they featured in that portrait throughout the vignette. According to Wells, "As in most other classic stories, we don't see Max and Ruby's parents, because I believe that kids resolve their issues and conflicts differently when they are on their own. The television series gives kids a sense about how these two siblings resolve their conflicts in a humorous and entertaining way. Ruby acts as a maternal figure to Max, and takes care of some of Max's basic needs. In addition, their grandmother is sometimes present and takes part in many of the episodes.