Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple
Carman, Patrick.

New York : Orchard, 2005.
IL 3-6, RL 6.7
ISBN  0439700930
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Alexa is the 12 year old daughter of a mayor of one of the four walled cities. She has wanted to find out what is beyond the walls and why they were built. Just as Warvold, the architect of the walls and leader of Birdwell, is about to tell her, he dies. She has the courage to take the key from around his neck and unlock the door to the forests and mountains outside. She learns there is a conspiracy headed by someone in power inside the castle and evil forces outside who are going to invade the walled cities. A small elf/gnome-like man who lives beyond the walls leads Alexa to talking animals and a complex code that she must decipher in order to save her city. See if you can figure out who the “bad guy” is before he is revealed.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face 2007)
SUBJECTS:     Forest animals -- Fiction.
                        Forests and forestry -- Fiction.
                        Magic -- Fiction.
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