The geology of Hawaii, a ""paradise on earth"" and spectacular outcome of volcanic eruptions and continental drift, is an attractive topic. Rublowsky explains the forces at work in the islands' creation and aging to date, and then traces the arrival of the first life forms and, finally, the first humans (Polynesians about 750 A.D., Captain Cook 1000 years later). The islands' ecological balance began to be upset, he points out, with the first human arrivals. Rublowsky's manner is a bit school-teacherish, with a little lecture on change preceded (""First to basics"") by a priming on the earth's 92 natural elements; and even his stab at a creative approach--asking readers to change perspective and imagine holding the earth in their hands--is preceded by a lecture on changing perspective. Also dampening is the absence of color photos, despite the lush subjects (shown here in black-and-white). Nevertheless, readers willing to go along with Rublowsky's gentle directives will find understandable answers, in an area not widely covered.