I just finished "Beginning Chess" by Bruce Pandolfini. This is the second of his books that i have read, the other being "Principles of the New chess". I find his are excellent for the beginner. He write in a very easy to understand style. Some of the other authors I have read are difficult for the beginner to understand, and quite frankly turned me off. This was refreshing.
"Beginning Chess" is an excellent workbook. I read through the problems and felt that I really learned something!