What is important to Greg?
Only one thing is important to Greg: money. Put simply, Greg Kenton really wants to be a rich man. He loves money and has been busy making money even from a very young age. Greg begins by recycling cans and bottles for a few cents here and there. Then he moves onto doing chores around the house for dollars. As he gets older, suddenly Greg mows lawns, shovels snow, walks dogs, etc. He does anything that will bring the money in. Luckily, Greg doesn't really squander his money. Greg just likes HAVING money. Once in a while only does Greg spend it on something special.
As Greg gets older, he becomes a sort of banker for the family, helping them budget and manage their money. It makes me smile that he allows his parents to borrow money on the condition that they pay it back, but his brothers are charged interest. This allotment of Greg's money becomes “the First Family Bank of Greg.”
Greg's handling of money gets a bit more professional when his dad finds the money stashed in a book. Dad convinces Greg to put the money in a "real" bank so that it can earn even MORE money. Everyone is shocked to learn that Greg has already accrued thousands of dollars!
The title comes from the day that Greg forgets his lunch at school. A school lunch costs two dollars, but Greg only has one dollar on him. His fellow students give him the money quarter by quarter. This makes a light bulb light up in Greg's head. Kids come to school with quarters! Greg begins to sell them gum, candy, and toys. When the teachers reprimand Greg for distracting the students, he switches to selling books! This morphs into Greg's OWN series of comic books called "Chunky Comics."
All is well until Greg's neighbor, Maura Shaw, starts selling books too and cutting into Greg's business. The two get mad at each other and Maura gives Greg a bloody nose after calling him a "money-grubber." After the fight, Mr. Z (the teacher who goes faint at the sight of blood) tries to get the kids to see that they fight because they are so much alike. Mr. Z gets the kids to see that both of them do good work: one appeals to boys and the other appeals to girls. Soon, though, the principal forbids both children from selling the books at school.
The two kids, Maura and Greg, decide to go into business together OUTSIDE of school! The two realize that they fight a lot but do the best work when they work WITH each other instead of alone or AGAINST each other. It isn't long before the two fight again. Which is more important? The quality of the art or the money? Greg insists it's the money. Maura disagrees:
You do care about whether your comics are good. It doesn’t matter if kids would buy them anyway, they have to be good—that’s what you just said.
Greg has to admit that he sees Maura's point. They agree to meet with the "Committee" at school to try to sell their books again by donating portions of profit to the library. Amid fights between teachers and students, both Greg and Maura propose a school store where ALL kids can sell what they make. Greg and Maura end up giving over a thousand dollars to the school library and are even more thrilled about giving money AWAY (which surprises them) than making it themselves.