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What's hot and what's not this summer

It's going to be a summer of wizardry and sci-fi - that is, if you are nine years old.

Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, the-long awaited Star Wars prequel and Harry Potter books are the children's hits of the season.

When term begins next September teachers can expect to see hundreds of small boys proudly clutching their Jedi Knight pencil cases while trying to kill each other with Luke Skywalker light sabres.

Those not pretending to be Darth Vader will probably be dressed as cowboy gunslingers. Actormusician Will Smith has achieved god-like status among small boys since saving the world from aliens in the blockbuster film Independence Day. Set to star in another forthcoming blockbuster, Wild Wild West, his king-of-cool status is assured.

South Park, the cartoon described as the rudest, cruellest and most outrageous United States import ever, is also to be a film this summer. Featuring four animated children with big eyes and foul mouths the film apparently contains more than 200 swear words, several of which are not expected to escape the British censors.

In the fashion stakes, one seven-year-old style queen told The TES that you are simply no one if you don't own a pair of pedal pushers this season.

The same source also informs that combat trousers, last summers must haves, are definitely out, along with the band that inspired them, All Saints. Spice Girl fever is long gone. Their dolls, along with Teletubbies, can now be found in bargain baskets for pound;1.99. But remember, it's only a bargain if you need it.

Instead, personal steros will be reverberating with the sounds of teen bands Steps, B*witched, A1 and the Abba-Teens. But the biggest new pop sensation of them all is S Club 7, probably the most cynically-marketed band ever.

Created by Simon Fuller, the man who made the Spices, S Club 7 are also the stars of a TV show about teenagers living in Miami trying to make it big as a band. Every show finishes with a song, conveniently available on the latest album.

Fresh-faced Michael Owen is the footballer of choice, David Beckham's popularity not helped by getting spliced to the naff Posh Spice. The other pin-up adorning bedroom walls is Sarah Michelle Geller, star of cult-kids TV programme Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She appeals to all ages and was recently voted the world's sexiest woman by the readers of lads mag, FHM.

The good news for teachers is that reading is VERY hot this summer as the Harry Potter phenomena reaches fever pitch. For those not in the know, JK Rowling, the most popular children's book author since Roald Dahl, has a book out this summer charting the adventures of the teenage wizard .

Apparently, so many children have been complaining that their parents are stealing their copies, adult versions have just been published.

Additional research by Ruth Armstrong.

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