Grade 5-7 Sixteen-year old Ashur Fine, a shy animal-lover, is jolted out of his quiet life when Methuselah, an ancient African elephant at the zoo, chooses him to receive special powers to defend animals. Still unsure of what these powers are, Ashur is caught up in a search for two men who mugged his aunt, who is a private investigator. Gradually he discovers that he can become any person he chooses, for a short time. Using this power, Ashur tracks the muggers to Arizona and brings them to justice. Sobol's writing here is different from the straightforward language of his popular Encyclopedia Brown series. He uses a slick, fast-paced, cinematic style full of imagery. The idea of the Power has plenty of potential both for excitement and humor. (The hero becomes Joe Louis at one point, and Franz Liszt at another.) Ashur is an appealingly resourceful character. Unfortunately, Sobol has overcomplicated his plot so that the relationship of different elements is unclear. The elephant gives Ashur power to help animals, but he uses it to help humans. In spite of these weaknesses, Sobol fans who have graduated from Encyclopedia Brown will undoubtedly be happy to find a new offering from their favorite author. The last pages hint at a sequel and another meeting with Methuselah.