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!