This is the story of a little gay bunny.
A little gay bunny who belongs to Vice President Mike Pence.
This is the story of Marlon Bundo, the Instagram star and real-life pet of the vice president’s family, who is also the subject of two dueling children’s books released this week.
The first, “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President,” is a picture book written by Mr. Pence’s daughter Charlotte that focuses on the bunny’s observations of the vice president, with illustrations by his wife, Karen.
The other, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” is a gay romance between two bunnies that was the brainchild of the HBO comedy host John Oliver.
So far, that is the more popular of the two.
Mr. Oliver revealed the book, which was written by Jill Twiss and credits the titular bunny as a co-author, on his weekly late-night show on Sunday. He described it as a mocking rebuke of the vice president’s longtime opposition to gay and transgender rights.
“Please buy it for your children, buy it for any child you know or buy it because you know it would annoy Mike Pence,” Mr. Oliver told his viewers. Parody aside, he assured them, “This is a real book for children.”
And buy it they have. By Tuesday the book, which beat Ms. Pence’s to Amazon by two days, had risen to the No. 1 spot on the website’s best-seller list, knocking pre-ordered copies of the upcoming memoir by James Comey down to No. 2.
Ms. Pence’s book on Marlon Bundo had reached No. 4 on the list by late afternoon.
Mr. Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” has been highly anticipated for potential insights it could provide into the tumultuous Trump White House and Mr. Comey’s abrupt dismissal as director of the F.B.I. last year.
Dueling tweets over the weekend between President Trump and Mr. Comey appeared to have propelled enough advance orders to lift Mr. Comey’s memoir to the top spot. The memoir, scheduled to be released on April 17, has been advertised as a frank account of Mr. Comey’s “never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career.”
Mr. Oliver’s book is very different than that.
In it, Marlon Bundo, a snappily dressed bunny with a penchant for bright bow ties, falls in love with a bespectacled boy bunny named Wesley. Things seem to be going pretty well for the two lovebirds (love bunnies?) until a powerful stinkbug who bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Pence decrees that male bunnies cannot marry each other.
In the grand tradition of children’s literature, the story ends on a happy note. An image released by the book’s publisher, Chronicle Books, shows Marlon Bundo and Wesley standing in a field, wearing tuxedos, as a cat in clerical garb marries them.
The tale also comes in the form of an audiobook voiced by a string of celebrities including Jim Parsons as Marlon Bundo and John Lithgow as the stinkbug, as well as Ellie Kemper, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and RuPaul. On Tuesday, it also beat Mr. Comey’s audiobook to be the No. 1 best-seller on Audible.
Mr. Oliver played clips from a cartoon version of the audiobook on his show on Sunday. In it, Marlon Bundo introduces himself to Wesley as “BOTUS.”
“It’s short for Bunny of the United States,” he says, with typical first-date awkwardness. “It’s a long story.”
Ms. Pence’s book is more sober children’s fare and it is not known if it identifies Marlon Bundo’s sexual orientation at all.
Charlotte Pence seemed to take the John Oliver parody in stride. “His book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind,” she said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Tuesday. “We have two books giving to charities that are about bunnies, so I’m all for it really.”
Some of the proceeds from her book will be donated to A21, an organization that fights human trafficking. Mr. Oliver said all of his book’s profits would be donated to The Trevor Project, a charity for L.G.B.T. youth, and AIDS United.
That was a pointed jab at Mr. Pence, who is a longtime opponent of L.G.B.T. rights, which he opposed as both governor of Indiana and a member of Congress.
Last year, Mr. Pence described James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, which teaches that people can vanquish same-sex attraction if they “cooperate with God in the process of becoming more like Jesus,” as “a friend and a mentor.”
Mr. Pence has also long been dogged by claims that he supports anti-gay conversion therapy due in part to language contained on the website of his 2000 campaign for Congress. A spokesman for Mr. Pence said in 2016 that he does not support the practice, which has been denounced by the medical community.
The success of Mr. Oliver’s book marks the second time in recent months that criticism of Mr. Pence’s record on L.G.B.T. rights has turned into a pop culture moment.
In January, the figure skater Adam Rippon, the first openly gay American man to qualify to compete in the Winter Games, attracted wide media attention and became an overnight gay icon when he denounced Mr. Pence’s gay rights record and refused to meet with him during the Games. The vice president’s staff said Mr. Rippon had misrepresented Mr. Pence’s views.