As 9-to-12-year-olds approach puberty, they'll continue to aspire to teenhood, plus deal with their own fears about the changes in their lives.
"Mysticism is a way for girls to play out scary fun," says Geller, citing the growing popularity of dragons and shows like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Charmed. "Scary for boys has traditionally been action figures, sports and [superheroes]."
Tween girls are also finding heroes in sports figures, such as soccer star Mia Hamm, and superheroines, like the anime-style PowerPuff Girls and Marvel Media's She-Hulk and Spider Girl. "It's a new sensitivity about girls. There's no question that girls are taking on much fuller, more multidimensional personalities," says Geller.
Meanwhile, the lives of tween boys are still very much centered around sports, especially extreme sports, while computer games, video games and anime remain popular.