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Stephen Colbert found a new way to needle the president: a children’s book

Stephen Colbert poses for photos at the 92nd Street Y in September. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert has profited handsomely from the Trump presidency. His ratings were flagging after he took over the CBS show — but then he got political. His constant criticism of the current White House has turned him into a ratings champion.

Now he’s taking his commentary to a new platform, and he won’t be the only one profiting. The proceeds from his forthcoming children’s book, “Whose Boat Is This Boat?: Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane,” go to the Foundation for the Carolinas, the One SC Fund, the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund and World Central Kitchen.

Colbert explained the genesis for the project on Friday’s “Late Show.” It all came about after Trump visited the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence.

“You might recall that Donald Trump’s visit to North Carolina after the hurricane did not comfort everyone,” Colbert said before describing the president’s fascination with one particular boat that had washed ashore. “He made so many kind of odd comments about that boat that as a joke — ha ha — we turned all of those comments into a children’s book made up entirely of quotes of Trump touring hurricane damage.”

Except that the joke, “by Donald Trump (by accident),” turned into a real book published by Simon and Schuster with a Nov. 6 release date.

Colbert is not the first late-night host to get into the children’s book game. He is not even the first one to write a political children’s book.

Earlier this year, John Oliver released the book “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” by Jill Twiss with illustrations by EG Keller, about two boy bunnies who fall in love. The catch? Marlon Bundo is the name of Mike Pence’s actual pet rabbit, who was also the inspiration for Karen Pence’s children’s book, “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President.”

The HBO host announced the book following a “Last Week Tonight” segment that was particularly critical of the vice president.

“It turns out, in a complete coincidence, we also wrote a book about Mike Pence’s rabbit that has also been published,” he said at the time. “While his is out tomorrow, ours is released right now.”

Profits for that book went to AIDS United and the Trevor Project. (Profits from Karen Pence’s went to Tracy’s Kids.)

Colbert and Oliver are joined in their interest in publishing books for kids (ostensibly) by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. No surprise here, given Fallon’s apolitical reputation: “Everything is Mama” and “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA” make no mention of the current administration.

Stephanie Merry is editor of Book World.

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