I had to choose between PHP and NodeJS. In the end, I took the advice of one of my friends who told me that I was better off with a web language that I had used before.
PHP for Absolute Beginners starts from the absolute beginning. It shows you how to set up your PHP environment.
From then on, the book goes on to cover the basics of PHP and ends with the creation of a blog using PHP.
The only drawback with the programs in this book is the the coding style is in-line so it won't work for a production environment.
That said, this book covers most of the pillars of PHP.
PHP for Absolute Beginners fulfills its promise.