One of the characters in the YA novel I'm currently shopping around is an African grey parrot who serves as a sort of consultant to his owner, a very offbeat therapist. So maybe I'm stretching reality just a bit, but the fact is that African greys can think, which no scientists had ever acknowledged until Dr. Irene Pepperberg came along and studied Alex (short for Avian Language Experiment). I highly recommend her book, "Alex and Me," which is an informative, hilarious, and poignant memoir of their almost-40 years together. Anyway, my point is: animals are so much smarter than humans have ever given them credit for. Follow this link, and if you have ever called someone a baboon as a way of insulting his or her intelligence, you probably never will again.
Keep your eye out for my forthcoming interview with Holly Schindler, the very talented author of YA novels "A Blue So Dark" and "Playing Hurt." Keep reading! Keep writing!