Gr 3-5--This lovingly crafted picture book biography centers on the incredible bond between Venus and Serena Williams and one of their signature accomplishments: being the first two sisters in tennis history to rank numbers one and two in the world. Beginning with their early childhood, Cline-Ransome highlights the siblings' hard work and dedication to each other and their goals. From pre-dawn practices as preschoolers in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Serena's first victory over Venus in the 2002 French Open nearly 20 years later, this story of their single-minded focus and unwavering family support will inspire readers to achieve greatness regardless of the odds. The collage artwork, done in cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints, is expansive and filled with vibrant colors and emotions. Fans of tennis will be in for a treat as Cline-Ransome recounts the Williams's matches with thrilling detail. This powerful narrative will most appeal to independent readers. Back matter includes an afterword that chronicles the duo's accomplishments and challenges from 2002 to 2011. VERDICT An important selection for biography and sports collections.--Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MACopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Husband-and-wife team James E. and Lesa Cline-Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) offer a powerful portrayal of the sisters and tennis legends. Growing up in Los Angeles, Venus and Serena played tennis in the courts of East Compton Park, where neighborhood gunshots sometimes interrupted their practice. The book follows their move onto professional courts, where they drew attention for their raw talent and expressive styles, as well as their unfortunate treatment by some watchers, who "threatened, booed, and taunted" the sisters for their skin tone. Cline-Ransome conveys the sisters' affection and competitiveness, emphasizing how Serena remained one step behind Venus until the 2002 French Open, when "a victorious Serena stepped out of the shadow of her sister." Yet the sisters are pictured standing side-by-side for Serena's win: " 'Nothing can keep me from celebrating when my best friend wins a match, ' Venus said proudly." Ransome's sophisticated portraiture captures a likeness of the two athletes, while spreads feature playfully stylized cut-paper collage accents—visuals that enhance this tribute to sisterhood, athletics, and determination.Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.