After doing a ton of research online and trying out my sister-in-law's slightly older Nikon D40, I settled on the new Nikon D3000. And I love it! It really is easier to use than I could've imagined, and the shots I've gotten so far are amazing. I have no photographic training, but I am really delighted with the pictures I've been getting so far. I never could have imagined there would be SUCH a huge difference. I've actually gotten -sharp- pictures of my toddler in motion, rather than just kid-shaped blurs! I took it to a local park last night for a couple hours and took some really nice photos there, too.
Some things you might want to know if you, like me, are new to DSLRs:
* Everything you need in The Nikon D3000 box (flash, lens, camera body, camera strap, manual, etc.) -except- for a memory card. You'll need to get an SD or SHDC card to use with your camera. These are quite affordable. Of course, you may WANT more lenses, etc., later, but the kit lens is very nice, and offers a decent amount of flexibility. I would suggest, however, get a lens filter to help protect the lens,
* The Nikon D3000 comes with a "Guide" -- it helps you choose what effect you're looking for (freeze motion, blur background, etc.) and then helps you pick the right settings. But even just on "auto" mode, it takes some really fabulous pictures.
* Even as a relatively small DSLR, it's definitely bigger and heavier than most point-and-shoots. This wasn't a big issue to me, as I mostly plan to use it at home, but if you want something you can stick in your pocket, a DSLR may not be for you. (I plan to keep my old point-and-shoot as a backup for times when I want something I can just stow in my purse.)
* The D3000 does not have "Live View," where you can frame your shot in the LCD screen. I was a little concerned about this at first, but surprisingly, I've found that I really don't miss it at all. It also does not have video mode (which I find I don't miss, either, because I've always hated taking videos with a camera! They come out all shaky for me.)
* The included printed manual is pretty short and sweet. There is a manual on CD included that is much more complete. Neither, of course, really explains DSLRs in depth or photographic principles, so if you'd really like to learn more about using your camera to its fullest, I'd suggest Digital SLR Cameras and Photography For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) and Digital Photography Workbook For Dummies (For Dummies (Sports & Hobbies)). The former does a great job of explaining how your camera works, why DSLRs are different from point-and-shoots, how to care for your camera, and what accessories you may want. The latter has tons of hands-on exercises to help you learn your way around your camera and improve your photography.
In short, if you'd like to jump into the DSLR pond, the D3000 is definitely an excellent introduction. Come on in -- the water's great!