1- Yes you can pass the Certification without the work experience. In order to make the most knowledge gain, a little work experience is not wrong. The work experience may not only be in Java, if you have experience in C# for example (as in my case) the certification will give you a solid basics of the Java language and will reinforce your current programming skills.
2- Since the latest exam in SCJP is for Java 1.5 there is no reason to target Java 1.4. Before going to the exam answer questions for both 1.4 and 1.5.
3- I think this is the best book to prepare for SCJP. This book is really one of the best ever I have encountered in my life.