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.

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    It's been awhile since I read it, but Red Mars might fit the bill.
    – gowenfawr
    Mar 31, 2022 at 16:23
  • It isn't a close match, but one of Asimov's Space Ranger series has something of the sort. Animals that seem like dumb frogs are actually semi-intelligent and telepathic. They send out a telepathic message to "feed me" which people can't help obeying. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Pete
    Mar 31, 2022 at 17:09
  • This reminds me of one of the James Schmidt stories in his Hub Federation setting - not the Telzey Amberdon stories, but set in that universe. I can't think of the name of the story I'm thinking of, however. Mar 31, 2022 at 17:57
  • Maybe "Hallucination" by Asimov? Mar 31, 2022 at 23:49
  • One of my school teachers read out an excerpt from a similar story (80s UK), I suspect it was the same one. The creatures were called "wheels" but the teacher explained they were animals, not actual wheels, I don't know if they were wheel-shaped. I remember a scene where a friendly wheel excitedly rushed up to the protagonist and stopped, and a nearby adult was horrified and insisted "it charged you!". Apr 1, 2022 at 9:04


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