The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
I was inclined to seek out this book after watching the compelling trailer of the movie due out later this year (and because I'm killing time until Harry Potter 7 is here *grin*).
This is another fantasy series, written for children, but with the vocabulary, themes and often, violence, found in a YA or adult fantasy series. Lyra is entrusted with an altheiometer (it tells the truth) which sets her and her daemon on a path to find her uncle, escape the evil clutches of an organization, take on a bear king, and find her friend Roger.
This is a well written fantasy novel, though I think some of the themes and violence might not be good for the little ones. The movie looks good, too!
Of course, in the spirit of the book, I *had* to find out what my own daemon is...