When the Philosopher and I first started hanging out, he indicated an interest in learning amigurumi in efforts to make children's gifts for friends who are starting to have children. I was blunt in that my talents with the crochet hook are rather limited and that I much prefer the pointy sticks. He was amenable (especially after watching me knit and eat, knit and walk, knit and talk, knit and sleep--wait, that's just a hopeful wish) to learning to knit.
I set out to find something small and stuffed animal like that he could learn some shaping on and remembered that I'd seen Laura L talk about making Monster Chunks for her student workers. I didn't want to make Chunks but I found another Rebecca Danger pattern that I did like: Bunny Nuggets.
And, if a girl is going to be knitting Bunny Nuggets, why not just go down the path of knitting monsters and inflicting them upon unsuspecting friends.
Gypsy approves (and the Incredibly-Patient-Mother has already picked out her favorite monster).
I wish I'd known about these when I was knitting with my kids in La Crosse. It simply teaches techniques, gives you rapid gratification, and can be altered a million ways to use up scraps!