I think the Fiber Trends felted clogs are a pattern that requires concentration (albeit no cables). What about Baudelaire in knitty? It has a lot of different techniques, plus lace.
I'm not an expert on Mary W., but I did read a lot of her writing in a Women's Lit class.
I like Debbie Bliss' Quick Kid Knits. There are lots of patterns for boys and most are sized 4-8 (what my boys are). There are complicated ones and easy ones.
I just got a copy of Vickie Howell's "New Knits on the Block". It's all knits for kids, with lots of them in the costume/dress-up/make-believe category. Firemen's helmets, viking costumes (with horned helmet!), a knitted toolbelt with tools, a pirate bath set (head scarf, Jolly Roger washcloth, and parrot!).
I know you specified the kids' stuff for quicker gratification, but these patterns might give you the challenge you're looking for, too.
Ooh! What a tease. "A really really good book" ... we want details! Or, at the very least, the title while we wait for you to finish and post about it.
Good luck on your presentation! And did you pick the sock or the book??
Alas, no leads on patterns for little boys - I think the only sweater I've knit for a little boy was a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern, very generic.
i hate it when i have to decide between a book and a sock. i tend to do both -- either one half of my commute (which is about 45 min) gets one and the other half the other .. or one way (the full 45) gets one and ...
however i often end up at the library before i head home so then i generally have to decide between several books. ;)
and i'm enjoying baby knits. it's amazing how quick they go.. even though i'm too multi-projected to make much progress at the moment. ;)
Glad today was better, (presentation aside, and you'll do fine) and of course you're loved, silly!
Hey, hi there! Found ya again. Sheesh.
I'd suggest for cabled complexity the Spring Forward cardigan that Janet Szabo designed for her newsletter - there's a link on my sidebar. Mucho cables, and really interesting construction. Not that I've done much of it, but it's still fun.