The things with four legs that blow you up are called creepers, and they're not the same as zombies, which just sort of walk at you and try to eat you. They can blow up any (non-liquid) thing except obsidian, I think, which is a black stone found at basically the bottom of the earth near lava.
Don't fight going in the the holes/caves! It's where all the great stuff is. Make a torch to light it up and have a sword ready just in case, and go in stocked up on wood so you can make more sticks for torches and picks. Crafting crafting crafting.
Skeletons suck because they shoot arrows, so when I hear the rattling I almost always take the wuss way out. There's also giant jumping spiders, so look forward to that. The good thing is you get tons of heads up with the noises enemies make.
Also every world is randomly generated, so whatever little island you may have I won't have.
The best fire disaster is this poor dude
that created an elaborate sprinkler system only to have it fail. It ends with him standing alone, dumbfounded, as his paintings burn. I shouldn't have laughed.This
is a dude just kind of meandering around a cave finding coal and iron and stuff, but it has some good points about different tools and different rocks and how they act (granite suffocating you, etc.)