I wanted an SLR because I wanted to improve the photos I was taking of my 18 month old daughter. My Canon SD750 pocket camera takes great photos, but not the same quality as an SLR would.
Nikon D3000 is great because it has an auto mode that essentially turns it into a point and shoot camera. There is no shutter lag and - with the right memory card - you can hit continuous shoot to take 3 shots per second. (This is ideal for shots of my daughter going down a slide or kicking a ball in the backyard.)
If you end up "getting into" photography and want to futz with the settings, this camera has everything you could need. 11 point multi-focus and fancy light metering will keep anyone busy. That said, you can also just leave it in auto and it will take phenominal photos.
One of the best Nikon D3000 features is the "?" button. On any screen, you can push the "?" button to get a quick description of what the different setting options will do. For example, when selecting a manual metering mode, it will tell you the difference between multimetering and spotmetering.
The Guide feature is another helpful option that guides you through questions about what you are shooting and adjusts the settings accordingly. To be frank, I find I don't use that very much.
The camera comes with an 18-55 lens which is perfectly adequate for 80% of shooting. I also purchased a 35mm f/1.8 lens so that I could take more shots indoors without flash. I might also consider a 70-300 or 55-200 at some point down the road. For now, I have not had a need to do much telephoto work. I find that I can take the photo with the lens I have and then just zoom and crop on the computer. The image sensor has enough quality that you can really do a significant crop and zoom without a noticable loss in image quality.
Here are some negatives:
1) Shooting above 800 ISO tends to yield grainy photos. I try to keep it at 800 or below. That is another reason I bought the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras lens.
2) You need a fast SD card to avoid shooting delays. The camera has an image buffer. I found that using a standard Sandisk 15mb/s card, I was able to shoot (on continuous shooting) about 6 or 8 photos before hitting the buffer. I bought a Sandisk Extreme III 30mb/s card, and I have not been able to hit the buffer. There are also some shooting effects that involve post shot processing, and these can slightly slow down the camera.
3) I sort of wish I could have bought this with only the body and then added the lenses I wanted. The 18-55 is a very good lens, but I probably would have just ended up buying an 18, a 35 and maybe a longer zoom.
This is a great camera. It is a very good value and is the natural step up from a pocket digital. In my opinion, all of the criticisms I have seen online are from people who expect an entry level camera to have all of the bells and whistles found on models 2-10x the price.