When "teaching" Panda yesterday, I pointed him at Komodo. Nice GUI IDE with an editor that just works (Panda has used Word and other similar editors before) and the immediacy of pressing a button to run the code he was playing with combined with the feedback of syntax checking as he was editing removed a vast amount of frustration.
Of the languages that I've played with (see my home node), Perl is the one that I would choose for teaching simple programming concepts without having to worry very much about types and the difference between numbers and strings and other such unimportant cruft. DWIM saves the day :).
Perl is Huffman encoded by design.