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Shimri's Big Idea

Gigi Bousidan
In ancient Jerusalem, a little boy solves the big problem of how to get water from the spring to the city. Based on the real water tunnels of Jerusalem.
In stock
Product Type:
Printed Material
Grade Level:

The people of ancient Jerusalem must walk far to get their water. Shimri is too young to help in the fields. But by watching his family at home, he solves a problem that baffles a king - proving that big ideas can indeed come from small mouths.


"Shimri's Big Idea: A Story of Ancient Jerusalem is a children's picturebook about a young boy who makes a difference by using his head. Shimri isn't old enough or strong enough to help his other family members directly with the housework, but he can still watch and learn from them. They, like most people in Jerusalem, depend on water from a spring to survive - and bringing the water home each day is an arduous chore. The King decides that spring water needs to be made more accessible to the people, but how? Shimri has an idea or three - and great ideas can come from small mouths! Shimri's wise thinking will surprise readers of all ages, and young people especially will find the story inspirational. Shimri's Big Idea is highly recommended, especially for family storytime."

Midwest Book Review

"A boy saves the eighth-century B.C.E. city of Jerusalem from invading Assyrians. Shimri is the youngest in his family and is always being told that he is too little for chores. Then, when he spills water on the "breakfast table" he carefully observes that a human, in this case his grandmother, can alter the course of the water. Accompanying his older sister past the city walls to fill a water jug, he notices a "dark opening in a large rock." Back home, and again excluded from chores, he dances on the roof, causing the house to shake. When he learns that the king wants to build a tunnel to bring water inside the city walls, his grandmother encourages him to tell the king about his great idea to exploit his found crack in the rock for the building of this tunnel. Men making noise aboveground would guide builders digging from either end to a connecting spot. And so it came to pass in Weber's version of a historical event. As written in 2 Chronicles 32:1-23, the Assyrians were mounting a siege against the Judean king Hezekiah, and he wanted to deny access to water outside the city to the invaders. Weber's Jerusalem is peaceful, almost idyllic, a mood reinforced by the colorfully appareled inhabitants going about their daily activities as portrayed in Bousidan's illustrations. Children will appreciate seeing how a boy with a keen eye helps to accomplish great things in this reimagining of biblical history. (Picture book. 4-7)"
— Kirkus Reviews

"Weber’s timeless, folk-style tale will strike a chord for young readers who will share Shimri’s frustration. The warm desert tones of Inbal Gigi Bousidan’s illustrations evoke the landscape and lifestyle of ancient Jerusalem."
Jewish Telegraphic Agency