If they are left handed don't go with the Intuos A6. They will trip the touch strips with their hand constantly if they drag their hand on the tablet, which most new users do. If they are already an arm painter and don't drag their hand the canvas might be too small for their strokes. I doubt they'll use the touch strips or end up disabling them, or appreciate the other subtle feature improvements in the Intuos line, its not worth the money at that point.
I'm not sure if they are discontinuing the Graphire line or not. The European Wacom site still has the Graphire4
listed. I wonder if they are "hiding" the Graphire line because they are trying to push the Bamboo for the "holiday season"? The Graphire has always been an awesome option for those looking for a first tablet, and since they are so cheap and so widely used they might have a hard time selling their more expensive brands.
If they are discontinuing the line, watch out for driver updates, MS might do something to Vista that Wacom won't update its older product line driver(s).
Personally I would go Graphire, and try to match the size with their painting style. Biggest bang for your buck.