Shimri's Big Idea

Written by Elka Weber
Illustrated by Inbal Gigi Bousidan
Ages 3-7, 32pp, 8 3/8 x 10 7/8
978-1-68115-541-8, $17.95

The people of ancient Jerusalem must walk far to get their water. Shimri may be too young to help in the fields, but by watching his family at home, he helps solve the problem of getting water to the city.

A Note to Families provides historical background about Hezekiah’s Tunnel, built in the eighth century BCE to bring water from the Gihon spring into the city of Jerusalem.


“Warmly detailed illustrations show a fascinating view of ancient Jerusalem. The book reminds readers of the timeless value of paying close attention to what is happening around us and of listening to each other—especially to the ideas that come out of small mouths.”
— Allison Ofanansky, author of How It’s Made: Hanukkah Menorah

"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