Toy Boy

Author David Kirk weaves a children's empire with his swarm of big-eyed bugs

For a children's-book author, David Kirk has a gilt-edged resume: son of puppeteers from Ohio; onetime toymaker; lives in a home in the woods full of small model robots and often works from his two-story Victorian-style tree house; has two daughters, Violet and Primrose, and another, Wisteria, on the way.

It's not, however, much of a career arc for a big businessman. Yet this month Kirk, 47, and his fictional creations, the zippy Miss Spider and her bug confederates, began an unprecedented assault on the nation's nurseries, closets and gardens. Kirk's works will become Target's first children's designer brand. And...

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