For a beginner who really wants to learn the basics of Chinese cooking and find some great and easy recipes, nothing can beat the Internet. There are tons of websites out there that have nothing but recipes for all kinds of cuisine.
Many are specially geared toward Chinese food. Some might make you register with the site but most give you recipes for free. You can print them out or save them for when you are ready to start cooking.
The food is interesting to watch being made and always looks delicious. It can be hard to write down a recipe while watching someone cook it so a digital recorder can help make sure you dont miss anything.
The old fashioned way is sometimes the best way. A nice Chinese recipe cookbook cant be beat most of the time. If you get a very large one, you can pick and choose from any Chinese dish you can imagine.
They often include common substitutions and cooking tips as well as helpful advice for the beginner.