This book really is an introduction to the world of science, and how science answers questions that were previously answered using magical or supernatural explanations. Like a US reviewer said, when I was younger, I believed in supernatural explanations and phenomena. As a curious lad, I was eager to soak up any information that I could, and some of those explanations sounded pretty plausible. The only problem (and it was a big one) was that I didn't have a gauge for how reliable one explanation was compared to another.
Metaphorically, neither did humanity until science came around. In both cases (mine and humanity's), science provided the tool for which to measure how reliable an explanation was in relation to another. How to compare two otherwise equal explanations based on explanatory and predictive power based on reliable data. This book pits common stories of creation and causation on a whole rage of topics, from the origins of species, to what we are made of, to the cycles of seasons and day/night. Most of the chapters start off with a "magical" explanation that is based on religion. All religions are represented here, including ancient and/or tribal religions. The book then moves on to explaining the phenomenon in question using simple, logical science.
I've rated this book five stars, but for two important audiences, it won't be.
First, for experienced scientists or science readers, this book will be pretty low-level. It's aimed at people who aren't familiar with science and its explanations (e.g., Dawkins cites ~20% of Europeans don't know how long it takes us to orbit the sun, and why- this is the book for them). It would also work well for younger readers. I can see ages 12+ absorbing this book quite well. In fact, that's around the time it would probably be most helpful (12-14), as it outlines how science works and why its explanations are superior to those of magical or supernatural causes. I enjoyed reading the book myself, but found very little of it new. Still, I'm glad that I have it as a reference for kids and adults who aren't as familiar with the science presented in this book.
Second, this book will not be very popular with devoutly religious people. Dawkins once more takes square aim at the major religions, pointing out how unlikely some of their "stories" are. In particular, the last chapter is a chapter on miracles, where Dawkins adopts Hume's stance on miracles. They are likely to be true if the alternate explanation (that they aren't true, that say, 500K people mass hallucinated someone parting the water of San Francisco Bay) is more likely to be false than the miraculous explanation. Of course, there are no such examples, leading Dawkins to claim that miracles are very likely false. In an important way, I agree strongly with the point he is trying to make. In essence, coincidences that seem miraculous (e.g., dreaming of an uncle the day that uncle dies) are really just the product of odds we're not good at calculating, recognizing, or even understanding. That's a good point, and well worth making. But I think he could have done more by directly challenging some kinds of magical explanations (e.g., psychic powers) more directly, including evidence from neuroscience. Instead, his choice of attacking religious stories represents a confrontational choice of topic that is going to drive some people away from this book. I don't disagree with the need and value of challenging any belief, but I think that some of the people who could most benefit from this book will simply be turned off by it. I hope they aren't, but I'm guessing they will be.
Which is too bad. Because, as Dawkins says, there is a certain poetic magic to reality once you understand it more. From the immense size of the universe to the evolution of minute structures, I've certainly found that scientific, reality-based explanations are every bit as majestic, awesome, and satisfying as magical or supernatural explanations ever could be. Science really is far and away the best tool for understanding the universe around us, and ourselves in it. Science really is an almost magical invention (in the poetic and metaphoric sense) that has allowed us to discover and explain things not only beyond what we thought possible, but also beyond what we ever imagined existed! If that's not magic enough for you, I don't know what could be! Magic and myths might be cool, but the reality of universe is even cooler.