I went on a great search this Christmas to find the perfect bike for my 8 year old daughter. I was debating between the $60 range bikes you can find in stores like Target and the $180 range bikes you can find at bike shops. I really didn't want to spend $180 on a bike my daughter was going to outgrow in a few years, but I liked the idea of having someone experienced with bikes putting it together.
Finally, after putting in numerous hours of on-line research, I came across the Novara Pixie Girls' 20" Single-Speed bike from REI. It fit perfectly with what I wanted. It has coaster brakes as well as hand brakes. It is put together by people who specialize in bikes (REI has a very large cycling department) and the price was right. With a $20 off coupon I got the bike for $129. The bike is steel construction, but does not feel near as heavy as the Schwinn and Huffy bikes I had seen elsewhere.
Finally, I would highly recommend this bike to anyone looking for a quality 20" bike to ride around the neighborhood. I feel that my daughter will be safe and have the perfect bike for honing her riding skills. Also, it might just last for her 2 younger sisters.