FICTION

Shimri’s Big Idea: A Story of Ancient Jerusalem

Apples & Honey Pr. Apr. 2019. 32p. Tr ISBN 9781681155418.
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K-Gr 3–Shimri is too small to help plow the fields, carry water from the well, or help with the laundry. But his grandmother teaches him that “Big ideas can come from small mouths...you need to look, listen—and learn!” So Shimri starts to notice things around him: how his grandmother can stop water from spilling off the table with her hand, how teamwork can get things done, and that when someone makes noise above ground it can be heard below ground. When he hears that King Hezekiah is trying to figure out how to build a tunnel to bring the water from the spring into the city, Shimri shares his ideas and inspires the king. While the illustrations are a bit flat, the bold, rich colors against the muted sandy hues of the architecture and landscape of Jerusalem beautifully depict life in ancient times. An extraordinary engineering feat built in the eighth century BCE, Hezekiah’s Tunnel brought water from the Gihon spring into the city of Jerusalem. It is mentioned twice in the Hebrew Bible and is also supported by archaeological evidence.
VERDICT It is rare to find picture books set in this region and time period that do not have any religious content. This a unique and special offering with an inspiring, universal message that will certainly resonate with young readers.

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