I must have read this in the early 1980s in the UK; possibly a 1970s publication. It was a children's novella about a boy who's part of a human space colonist family on a planet inhabited by aliens that aren't thought to be sentient. I think the planet was kind of desert-y or cowboy movie-ish, and the aliens roamed about it like horses or tumbleweeds. The aliens might have been wheel-shaped? The boy learned to communicate with them by telepathy and then had to persuade adult society to be nicer to the aliens.