I read a book about maybe 8-12 years ago. The book was brown and there was a black haired boy running away from two men in suits.

The book was about a boy who gets given powers at a zoo by the elephants. The powers include talking to animals and being able to mimic the abilities of anyone he thinks of (ie. he thinks bruce lee and then can fight like bruce lee) but only for a limited time.

I don't remember much about the plot but I do remember some snapshots; during the book he has to get away from the people chasing him so he plays the piano at a store well enough that he gets a crowd.

At the beginning of the book when he gets the powers the hippos object to the elephant giving them to him so the elephant kills them. (something about a gas leak the next day? maybe?)

If any of this rings a bell I would be really greatful. Its been on my mind for forever!

  • 2
    Never mind. Found it. "The Amazing Power of Ashur Fine" by Donald J. Sobol – Esther Apr 7 '16 at 0:50
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    You can post that as an answer yourself (there's an "Answer your Question" button down below), and then after a couple of days you can accept your own answer. Welcome to the site btw :-) – Rand al'Thor Apr 7 '16 at 0:52
  • Speaking of which, I'll gladly delete my answer if you post one, @Esther. – FuzzyBoots Apr 13 '16 at 5:07

As per the original querent's comment, this is "The Amazing Power of Ashur Fine" by Donald J. Sobol, better known for his Encyclopedia Brown series of mysteries.

Book cover

Summary from Goodreads:

Ashur Fine is no typical high school kid. Ashur possesses the Power. He can become any person, living or dead, by simply wishing to be. With the Power on his side, Ashur sets out to find the culprit who mugged Aunt Ruth. But the tables turn—and soon it's Ashur himself who's being stalked! The adventure leads Ashur smack into the middle of an international plot!

The hardcover version's summary mentions the elephant:

Sixteen-year-old Ashur Fine is given an undefined--perhaps unlimited--power by Methuselah, the Florida Zoo's ancient African elephant, and he uses it to get out of tight scrapes and solve a baffling mystery.

  • Just wanted to add, I checked out the book from the library and read it. It's really fun, and I think it's a shame that Sobol never spun it out into a series. – FuzzyBoots Oct 8 '16 at 15:13

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