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NPR Arts & Life

A Tale of Two Books: Bunny Of The United States Hops Onto The Page

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It's been quite a week for Marlon Bundo. The white-and-black rabbit hopped across the pages of not one but two picture books.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Who's Marlon Bundo? Let us help.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIOBOOK, "MARLON BUNDO'S: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Marlon Bundo) Allow me to introduce myself. I am Marlon Bundo Pence. I live with my family here at the vice president's residence. Some people call me BOTUS, a name any bunny would love. It means bunny of the United States, a job I am very proud of.

CORNISH: That's the beginning of "Marlon Bundo's: A Day In The Life Of The Vice President."

CHANG: Some of the book's proceeds go to charity for kids with cancer and to fight human trafficking.

CORNISH: Bundo's owner, Charlotte Pence, wrote the book. She's the VIP's 24-year-old daughter. Her mother, Karen, illustrated the book.

CHANG: Now, John Oliver, the host of "Last Week Tonight," is no fan of Vice President Pence in part because of his stance on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.

CORNISH: But...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT")

JOHN OLIVER: Through gritted teeth, here it is. I kind of like his rabbit.

CORNISH: Especially his name.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT")

OLIVER: His name is Marlon Bundo...

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: ...Which, again - it kills me to say this - is an objectively good name for a bunny.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: And Marlon Bundo is a great rabbit. He has his own Instagram account. Here he is making an important phone call.

CORNISH: Still, Oliver couldn't resist a poke at the Pences.

CHANG: He revealed a second childrens' book written by the BOTUS himself. It's called "A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo." The bunny has a bow tie and a boyfriend.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIOBOOK, "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARLON BUNDO")

JIM PARSONS: (As Marlon Bundo) And we both said we will get married and hop together forever.

CHANG: That's from the audio book.

CORNISH: There is a problem, though. Stink Bug is in charge, and he looks an awful lot like Mike Pence.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIOBOOK, "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARLON BUNDO")

JOHN LITHGOW: (As Stink Bug) Boy bunnies don't marry boy bunnies.

CHANG: Both books have hit the top 10 on Amazon this week. But the gay bunny book is now on backorder.

CORNISH: But as good reading, how do these books stack up? Here's Alexandra Alter. She covers publishing for "The New York Times."

ALEXANDRA ALTER: The John Oliver book has more of a classic story arc - there's a conflict; there's an antagonist; there's a resolution at the end; there's some tension - while the Pence family book unfolds chronologically without much drama.

CHANG: It's still cute, though, just straightforward.

CORNISH: Author Charlotte Pence supports the Oliver book, saying it's also for a good cause. Proceeds from his book go to support gay youth and AIDS United.

CHANG: It's all good for the real-life Marlon Bundo, too. On his social media accounts, the rabbit writes, the only thing better than one bunny book for charity is two bunny books for charity - #BOTUS. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.