John Walker by trade is an engineer who has been involved in small to medium businesses most of his working life. Additionally, he has written several magazine articles and following his move to Portugal 15 years ago, he was commissioned to write 24 full-page articles for the Manchester Evening News, “Last Great Adventure” which at the time was the largest regional newspaper in the UK.

The five Cheeky Pigeon books (amalgamated into one by the publisher) have been written for four- to eight-year-olds, with the blurb reading “Two children, Cheeky Pigeon, Cheeketta and Parrot Eagle travel together and learn lots of interesting facts about different cultures and lifestyles and discover wonderful sights such as The Las Vegas Strip, The Grand Canyon, The Taj Mahal in India, The Forbidden City in China and many many more!”.

Inspiring young people

John recalled “Our son has two children, first Oscar and then Charlotte. I wanted Oscar to be interested in flying light aircraft as I have had a private pilot and instrument licence for over 30 years. I wrote a book for him and then realised it was all about me, not him, so I scrapped it. I saw a picture of twenty pigeons on a telephone cable and thought of Cheeky Pigeon’s flock of world line-dancing champions. We have a twice full-size cast-iron eagle in the garden, which although interesting was a bit boring, so I painted all the feathers in bright colours and called him Parrot Eagle. Then along came Cheeketta as the head of the police carrier pigeon division.

Pat, my wife, and I have travelled extensively to most continents, which is where the idea of the two children travelling with their grandparents came from.”

He went on to share that, “When Oscar initially was able to read the books for himself, he was inspired by one particular story from the “Adventures in America” section. Here the child receives a medal for bravery for being the bravest boy in America for saving people from going over a waterfall in a boat. After reading the story several times he actually visualised himself in the role of the bravest boy in America. If the books can in any way inspire young people to strive and achieve the best they can in life, then I would want no more from the books. It would be nice if the books created a lasting bond between grandchildren and their grandparents.”

Inspiring Travel

John told The Portugal News that he hoped the books would inspire readers to travel, “All of the stories are based around countries we have visited and four of the stories in Adventures in Europe are based on actual places in Portugal, “The Giant Snowman” is set at the top of the Serra de Estrella mountain, “The Car chase” is at a vintage car museum at Caramulo, “The funny Railway” is based on the funicular railway at Nazaré and “Dinosaurs” is based in Lourinha where dinosaur remains were found.

Why Portugal?

When asked why they decided to move to Portugal, John explained “We have travelled widely and the only two countries we really loved were Portugal and Thailand. Thailand was too remote, so it had to be Portugal.”

We absolutely love living here as the people and weather are so amenable. After searching for two years, we chose to live on the outskirts of Oliveira do Hospital. A beautiful modern and up-to-date town with many international supermarkets, a Hospital and a very sociable Council, with events being put on during the year. There is, to the front of the house, an uninterrupted view of over 40 kilometres, to the left the Caramulo mountain range, to the right is the Estrella mountains which snowcap in the winter, and on the far right the Azores mountains. Of all the places I have looked at, this is the one we really love.”

John revealed to The Portugal News that “I have nearly finished a further thirteen books for much younger children between one and four. They are called “Happy Horace,” who is a gorgeous little mouse, very clean and very, very happy. He teaches children many things and visits many interesting places. There are noises for all the family to make and a song at the end. I am also currently rewriting “Last Great Adventure” which were about the trials and tribulations of moving to live in a foreign country which I am amalgamating into one book.”

For details on how to purchase Cheeky Pigeon drop an e-mail to giving your full postal details including the postcode and the book will be posted the following day.


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes