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What to know: A charming story enhanced with sign language about believing in yourself.
Recommended age 5-12
24 minutes
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ONCE UPON A SIGN: MAGIC MIRROR cover image Click to play video trailer
This 22 minute show is very delightful and provides a universal message about confidence and humility in a very unique way. CJ Jones' portrayal of Sparkles is extremely entertaining and was reminiscent of my father when he is being playful and silly.

The program follows a young girl named Alice as she faces the internal conflict of lacking self confidence. After a talent show audition gone wrong, she gets another opportunity to prove her talent when magic comes in the form of a mirror and a little helper named Sparkles. However, not everything goes the way that Sparkles thinks it will and more problems arise, despite the new magical mirror. The whole show is done in American Sign Language (ASL) with voice-overs for those who cannot interpret sign language. My favorite moment of the program is when Sparkles attempts to fix one of Alice's problems by very creatively dressing up as an old woman. CJ Jones, the actor who plays Sparkles, standouts among the cast. He portrays a person who is sincere and genuine yet, at the same time, very lighthearted and amusing. That is very difficult to balance well and he is very successful in doing that.

The message of the show is that that people should believe in themselves and never give up despite struggles they might have to face. They need not rely on others or "stuff" to bring them success, because success can be earned because of one's own abilities. This is a very relatable message for people of all ages, because no matter the age, sometimes we all put ourselves down and lose our self esteem.

This film would be great for between the ages of 8 and13 since girls tend to gravitate towards shows dealing with personal conflicts more than guys do, especially at this age. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars due to its uniqueness of including ASL and for taking a modern twist on this classic children's story that is very fun and enjoyable to watch. Reviewed by Carissa P., age 16, KIDS FIRST! Juror

This is an engaging film about believing in yourself and how you can make your dreams come true. Also, it emphasizes that you do not need to be perfect and that you must not be overly confident to the point that you lose your humility. It is all told in sign language but has words as well so, it is easy to follow and suitable for children who hear as well as those who don't. The special effects of the Magic Mirror are quite entertaining. It is visually appealing and has social and educational elements that make it valuable. The messages are positive: "If you can dream it, you can do it," "Believe in yourself." It is a subject matter than most children will relate to as many have a tough time believing in themselves and have a fear of performing in front of others. The story flows well and is easy to follow. It is entertaining and fun to watch. It also shows that if you keep trying, you can get better and better. It is set in modern day. There are fun signs at the end where children can learn to sign certain words.
Young Alice Cogswell wants to enter the talent show but she's unsure of herself. After an audition that doesn't go her way, she gets some magic help. This magic help gets her to the talent show and helps her ASL poetry sparkle.
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