I read the other reviews and your love or hatred of this book depends entirely it seems on your expectations and background. So, I'm an educated adult who went the language route and avoided all serious math and science college classes, but I love learning. So I picked up A Little History of Science at the library and LOVED it. This is not an in-depth look at the sciences, but a broad historical background that shows how modern science has come to be...by standing on the shoulders of those who came before.
What I loved about this book is that it provides a historical context for those famous names and scientific ideas/concepts and gives them a frame of reference by tying them together. By presenting these famous names with interesting anecdotes or details about their life or work, and relating them to others who had opposing ideas/theories/philosophies or actually used the ideas and built upon them, this book is a perfect jumping off point for further investigation. For example, I really loved the Engines and Energy chapter and Bright Sparks because it explained a couple of concepts for me that I've never understood (like how engines work and how electricity and magnetism are related). Also, it introduced me to people I'm going to read more about because this book literally only touches on them.
I'm going to have my 6th grader read this book next, because as another reviewer noted, it is written in a really accessible way. For those of you with science/political/religious issues, I should warn you that the author does make the occasional gentle editorial side-note about global warming, animal extinction, homosexual tolerance, and (as shown in the chapter list below) has chapters on the big bang, dinosaurs, humans as great-apes, and discusses the age of the earth.
Overall, I would really recommend this book to people (ages 10+) who love to learn and enjoy history but may not have a strong science background.
There are 40 chapters (In the parenthesis are my own very brief summaries of what the chapter is about if not obvious):
1-In the Beginning (Egypt/Babylon), 2-Needles and Numbers (India/China), 3-Atoms and the Void (Greeks/BigThree), 4-The Father of Medicine: Hippocrates, 5-'The Master of Those Who Know':Aristotle, 6-The Emperor's Doctor: Galen, 7-Science in Islam, 8-Out of the Darkness (Middle Ages), 9-Searching for the Philosopher's Stone (alchemy-chemistry), 10-Uncovering the Human Body (Vesalius), 11-Where is the Centre of the Universe? (early astronomy), 12-Leaning Towers and Telescopes: Galileo (astronomy), 13-Round and Round: Harvey (circulation/human body), 14-Knowledge is Power: Bacon and Descartes(attitudes on science), 15-The 'New Chemistry' (Boyle & Hooke), 16-What Goes Up...: Newton, 17-Bright Sparks (electricity & magnetism ... probably my favorite chapter!), 18-The Clockwork Universe (Newtonian-ism across Europe via Voltaire), 19-Ordering the World (classifying plants&animals), 20-Airs and Gases (very interesting), 21-Tiny Pieces of Matter(atoms&elements), 22-Forces, Fields and Magnetism (Faraday & Maxwell), 23-Digging Up Dinosaurs, 24-The History of Our Planet (geology), 25-The Greatest Show on Earth (Darwin), 26-Little Boxes of Life (early microbiology), 27-Coughs, Sneezes and Diseases (Pasteur plus many others-very interesting), 28-Engines and Energy (loved this-converting to mechanical energy), 29-Tabling the Elements (Mendeleev plus others), 30-Into the Atom (nuclear&quantum physics simplified - which I appreciated), 31-Radioactivity (Rontgen,Curies&Manhattan Project), 32-The Game-Changer: Einstein, 33-Moving Continents (plate tectonics), 34-What Do We Inherit? (genes&eugenics), 35-Where Did We Come From? (family of great-apes-findings on early man to neanderthals), 36-Wonder Drugs (development of drugs like penicillin & insulin), 37-Building Blocks (mostly DNA), 38-Reading 'the Book of Life': The Human Genome Project (understanding how DNA/genes works), 39-The Big Bang (Hubble, Gamow, +many/science deals with how, not why) 40-Science in Our Digital Age (computers advancing science).
Hope this helps!